Pitt’s average population skewed a bit younger on Thursday, April 25, when children of faculty and staff members came to campus on Take Your Child to Work Day.
The annual event takes place across the country and is intended to provide children with exposure to the working world. Across the University, staff, faculty and their littlest guests took part in a variety of activities that ranged from University- and department-wide to special one-on-one experiences.
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The Office of PittServes in the Division of Student Affairs coordinated a service activity in the William Pitt Union for all University employees and their children, where they assembled food kits for Rise Against Hunger, an organization that provides food, disaster response assistance and agricultural training and support to vulnerable communities all over the world. Chaz Kellem, director of PittServes, said that 150 people attended the event and helped to fill around 10,000 bags of food for the organization. It wasn’t all work and no play, though — the event also had popcorn and slushies, a photo booth with costume props and a craft activity with the Center for Creativity.
In Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD), a team of about 15 staff members hosted 74 children, said Brady Lutsko, manager of communication and training. The day began with a breakfast, and then the children were split into three age groups. Activities including a photo booth, gym relays and an IT security game took place through the morning, and children job shadowed with their adults in the afternoon. Lutsko said that this was the 10th year that CSSD has organized department-wide programming for children, relatives, neighbors and friends of CSSD employees.
The Office of University Communications also planned activities that provided their young guests a little insight into what their adults did in their jobs as communicators and marketers. Nearly 20 kids put together a website homepage using magnetic content types created by Pitt’s web services team. They also talked about mixing colors and what their favorites are (color theory) and what kinds of questions to ask when you want to learn more about a person (best practices in interviewing). Each child also received their own professionally designed “staff for a day” Pitt ID.
Libby Hilf, director of alumni relations and development for the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, said that the day coincided with school’s graduation, presenting an opportunity to use festive props — like mortar board caps — for photos. She brought her sons Drew and Charlie with her for a the school’s hosted breakfast and tour of Posvar Hall.
Outside of planned programming, staff and faculty had a chance to spend the day showing off some of the most interesting and exciting places on Pitt’s campus, including the Nationality Rooms, views from the upper floors in the Cathedral of Learning and tours of the Petersen Events Center. The day was also an opportunity for faculty and staff members to share interactive and kid-friendly experiences that demonstrate to their children what they do and who they work with at the University.
Some kids like Callen Byland got to do double duty, as both mom and dad work at Pitt. Lauren Byland is an associate director and academic advisor in the First-Year Engineering Program Office in the Swanson School of Engineering and said that her son got to see a lot of the University because her husband also works for Pitt in athletics.
Rick Joreitz, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences brought his 7-year-old son, Bennett, with him as he spent Thursday working with student athletes and athletic training staff.
“His favorite part of the day was throwing football at the indoor field and playing human bowling at the Pete,” said Joreitz. “My favorite part was watching him laugh all day and making paper airplanes with student athletes and athletic training staff.”