Caela Go | Assistant Visual Editor
The first student self-care day for the spring semester is scheduled for this Tuesday, Feb. 23. Unfortunately, many students won’t have the chance to devote the day to their own well-being, as the annual Pitt Day of Giving is also scheduled for Tuesday.
Pitt’s Day of Giving is a 24-hour, University-wide fundraising event where alumni, students and students’ families can donate to different organizations and schools within the University. The organizations with the highest number of donors or the largest sum of donations are ranked on leaderboards, and the organizations that place first, second or third can earn extra funding from the University.
Most students who are involved in clubs — especially those who hold leadership positions — will likely spend a significant portion of their day promoting their organization’s Day of Giving page to friends and family to secure funding that they might desperately need due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The overlapping of Pitt Day of Giving with the semester’s first self-care day demonstrates an oversight by the University’s administration — it wouldn’t have been that hard to schedule these two events for different days.
The Day of Giving usually takes place on a Tuesday, and Pitt was likely attempting to keep this tradition. But there isn’t a logical reason why Pitt decided to schedule a self-care day for the same Tuesday. Why on earth would the University choose to schedule a large-scale fundraising event — especially one that can be labor-intensive for student leaders, including those at The Pitt News and dozens of other student organizations — on one of two days students have that are supposed to be dedicated to taking care of themselves?
We’ve made our position on Pitt’s approach to self-care days clear in previous editorials — they are largely inadequate, and while the University’s Center for Teaching and Learning recommended that faculty should “avoid scheduling due dates for assignments and exams on or immediately after self-care days,” it hasn’t strictly enforced this. Even if it did, students would likely still have to use their self-care day to catch up on readings, homework or studying.
In the past, this lack of structure has made it hard for us to believe that Pitt actually cared whether or not students got a day they could devote to caring for themselves. Scheduling our first self-care day of the semester on Pitt Day of Giving does little to nothing to disprove this theory. It just gives us one more thing to pay attention to, in addition to whatever academic work students may have.
Allowing Pitt Day of Giving and our first self-care day to occur on the same day is frankly ridiculous. The University could have easily avoided it — why not have this self-care day fall on the Wednesday following Day of Giving, and have the second self-care day, currently scheduled for Wednesday, March 24, moved up to March 23? Alternatively, this self-care day could have been scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 25, again avoiding sharing a day with the Day of Giving.
The point is that it would have been relatively simple for Pitt to avoid letting these two events coincide, but once again Pitt has neglected to establish that self-care days should be explicitly devoted to self-care.