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Staying active, if distant, on campus

  • Department of English
  • Covid-19

There’s lots to do on campus and “together” as you shelter in place. From cooperative online games to virtual K-Pop dance classes, Pittwire has ideas for students to keep busy and connected during this period and beyond.

As a reminder, while you’re sheltering in place, you should only leave your residence for medicines, food or emergency situations.

Try a cooperative online game

Members of the University have access to Zoom video conferencing, which opens up a world of possibilities to connect with others—plus your classes will likely use the platform, so you’ll have a head start on the tech.

In addition to console games you may already be playing or online role-playing games like World of Warcraft, assistant professor of English in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and director of Pitt’s Vibrant Media Lab, Zach Horton, has a few suggestions for games to play.

“There are a lot of good online games. Not many are properly co-op, but the number one online co-op game happens to be particularly perfect at this moment: Pandemic!. I personally have been playing a lot of Pandemic over Zoom with friends over the past few months, but we use a physical board and a number of cameras.”

Another game he suggests as a good icebreaker is Wavelength—“a telepathic party game,” according to its developers. Play over Zoom or with your podmates.

Finally, Horton suggests an online version of the board game Carcassonne—a tile-based game in which players draw and strategically place their tiles to build a medieval city.

The offices of Residence Life and Campus Recreation have also partnered to launch a new esports program, designed for players from newbies to pros.

“Our goal through this program is to challenge our gamers to always be better than the day before by creating a strong competitive atmosphere built around teamwork,” said DaVaughn Vincent-Bryan, interim associate director of residence life. Programming will include games like Super Smash Brothers, League of Legends and others. Residents are automatically invited based on housing assignments, Vincent-Bryant said.

Pitt-Bradford and Pitt-Greensburg also have esports leagues.

Partake in Pitt-sponsored events

There are plenty of virtual campus events to keep you busy. Pitt Program Council is a student-run activities board and your go-to resource for all things fun. Upcoming programming includes a Bingo Bash tonight at 8 p.m., Pitt-themed coloring book parties, a K-Pop dance class and more.

Check out Pittwire Live and the University’s calendar for more events throughout the year.

Beyond Pod Week

As we enter the fall term, even more programming is available, whatever your interest. Here are some highlights to put on your calendar:

Go outside

There are plenty of green spaces on campus for you and your podmates to grab a face covering and soccer ball and get some physically distant exercise. Students on the Pittsburgh campus are also a short walk away from Schenley Park—which has a frisbee golf course, running trails and Panther Hollow Lake—and Schenley Plaza, which has space for picnics and lounging in the grass.

To get around and get healthy, take advantage of a new benefit (once your shelter in place period is over, of course). This year, all students and employees on the Pittsburgh campus receive free 30-minute rides through a first-of-its-kind partnership between Pitt’s Office of Sustainability and Pittsburgh bike share program Healthy Ride.

But remember: Even though you’re outside, you still need to wear your face covering, stay 6 feet apart from people who aren’t in your pod and bring your hand sanitizer.

Pitt Serves

The University’s 26th annual volunteer fair will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 15. This virtual opportunity, hosted through Handshake, will enable Pitt student volunteers to connect with community organizations with volunteer opportunities. Follow Pitt Serves on Instagram and Facebook for updates.

Virtual Community Extensions

Virtual Community Extensions enable students to join events, meetings, discussions, games and competitions—all from their phones. Campus residents will automatically be invited to join and have immediate live access to resources and staff support, plus the ability to expand their social networks using Discord servers to join live voice chats, give feedback and join interest and affinity groups.

Civic Action Week

Taking place Oct. 5-10, students can learn about opportunities to engage with various nonprofits and University departments to become civically active on campus. The week will highlight such themes as community engaged learning and research, community organizing and activism, policy and governance, social entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility, direct service and philanthropy.

Pitt’s got talent

The annual talent show, now in its fourth year, will go virtual with a “No-Show Talent Show” that invites students from all Pitt campuses to compete. Competitors can expect big prizes to match the always big talent. The University calendar will be updated as more information about the event becomes available.