DJ and Stewart
Features & Articles

A celebration of community at Pitt's Homewood CEC block party

  • Our City/Our Campus

More than 150 people from Homewood and the Pitt community this week celebrated the reintroduction of the Homewood Community Engagement Center (CEC). 

At the party — officially called the Pitt Community Engagement Center in Homewood Phase 2 Block Party and Celebration — attendees danced inside and outside the center, as DJ Big Phill played old-school and new hip-hop and R&B. More than 27 stations connected attendees with Pitt schools and offices, as well as organizations offering programs and opportunities for families in the community.

Michelle Stewart, a Homewood native and director of the Homewood CEC, said the party and fellowship was amazing and provided the community with a chance to tour the North Homewood Ave. center.

“We are so thankful for the opportunity to show people about the resources they have access to right outside their front door,” Stewart said. “We’re here to support and collaborate with the people here and to let them know their voice matters to the University.” 

Block parties and CECs in Homewood and the Hill District are part of the University’s Neighborhood Commitments, long-term, place-based partnerships with local communities, in which all 17 schools and a variety of academic centers and business units are involved.

Zinna Scott, a board member of Operation Better Block, said she and her organization have partnered with the center since it opened in 2018. Health and wellness resources offered through the CEC were particularly beneficial to the community, Scott said. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CECs provided vaccinations for thousands.

And with the official opening of “phase two” of the center in early 2020, the community has access to a fully equipped commercial kitchen and Wellness Pavilion multi-purpose space in partnership with the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Phase two also includes an additional classroom, conference room and more.

Scott encouraged members of the community to return to the center and take advantage of its resources.

“The whole building in itself is a good thing,” Scott said. “I just need people to come back to it. It’s here. Utilize it.”


— Donovan Harrell, photos courtesy of the Homewood CEC