Marketing and Communications

Marketing and Communications Overview

The Marketing and Communications Office is responsible for publicizing and showcasing the diverse array of programs and services sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs, affiliated student organizations, and campus partners. 


The office collaborates with each department within Student Affairs, as well as students, staff, and faculty campus wide, to develop and implement creative and comprehensive marketing strategies. We strive to ensure that students, faculty, and staff are well informed about programs, events, and services that enrich the student experience.  A variety of print and digital platforms are used to develop and execute effective marketing campaigns.


Given the local, state, and federal guidelines regarding community response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Marketing and Communications will operate virtually. Staff members are working remotely and ready to assist students/you. We will continue to accept marketing intake requests.
For creative and design, please contact Megan Speakman.
For social media, newsletters, and web site, please contact Sam Carlstrom.
For communications, media, and all other inquiries, contact Janine Fisher.
Please also continue to practice social distancing and take care of your health and wellbeing.

OUR MISSION: To creatively and effectively assist Student Affairs staff and student leaders, and University partners, in promoting their programs and services by utilizing an array of multimedia marketing and communications tools.

Please initiate all project requests by using the project request form


See below for some helpful guidelines to working with our office.    


  • Janine Fisher, director of marketing and communications. Janine has been with Student Affairs since 2006, and has been a staff member at Pitt since 2003.  Janine is a proud Pitt alum and manages the day-to-day operations of the department, including playing a lead role in developing and implementing a variety of strategic multi-media marketing campaigns.  Janine can be reached at or 412.648-1049.
  • Sam Carlstrom, assistant director of marketing and communications.  A Pitt alum, Sam started her career as a social media specialist in Pitt's Office of University Communications and Marketing in 2018 and joined our team in August of 2021. Sam can be reached at or 412-383-0361.
  • Megan Speakman, assistant director for creative services. Megan recently joined the MC team, starting in this new position the Monday of New and Transfer Student Orientation Week.  Megan is responsible for managing graphic design services for the division, as well as overseeing strategic branding. She previously performed design services for Charlotte Parent magazine, before moving back to her native Pittsburgh.  Megan can be reached at or 412.383-0445.


If you are contacted by a member of the news media requesting an interview with you, including The Pitt News, WPTS, or any off-campus new agency, please follow these procedures:

Please forward all media requests directly to Janine Fisher, Director of Marketing and Communications to be coordinated through the MC office.

We want to accommodate the media as best we can in a prompt and professional manner.


If you have a good story idea about a program or person that you would like to see publicized by the news media, please work with Janine to coordinate coverage. Please do not contact the media personally. The marketing and communications team works closely with the University Communications staff to pitch story ideas and disseminate information to assignment editors and reporters, using the following tools:

  • The Student Affairs electronic newsletter
  • Press releases sent to news media
  • PittWire, the University’s new daily electronic newsletter sent to students, faculty, and staff
  • The front page of the Student Affairs Web site
  • Multiple social media feeds sponsored by Student Affairs and Pitt (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube)
  • Through personal contact via phone or e-mail
  • TV screens in the William Pitt Union, Cathedral of Learning and Residence Halls

If you have a program, event, service, or messaging campaign for students – and require the support of the marketing team for design of promotional materials such as flyers, slides for TV screens, videos, or event coverage – you are required to initiate the project with the Student Affairs Marketing and Communications Office.

Please utilize the new project request system to contact Janine Fisher and begin the process of developing marketing strategies and production of promotional materials.


The Marketing and Communications Office has launched a new project request system (online form).

This is a tool to streamline the request process to reduce the amount of back and forth e-mails.  By providing the MC team with as much information as possible on the front side, we are able to see the whole picture of your request, and really get to work quickly instead of having to send multiple follow up e-mails for information.

As always, we are open to a conversation about your event or service, our goal is to help you succeed.

Sam will work with you, and the Student Affairs marketing and communications team, to develop the best methods and materials within an established budget to promote the event, program, or service before, during, and after it is held. Frequently we are able to help promote your event or service in ways that you are not aware of, through other platforms.  Here are the most common tools we utilize and services we provide:

  • Graphic design of flyers, posters, and other promotional materials (see below)
  • Front page of Student Affairs Web site (photo slider, news and announcements, social feeds)
  • TV screens in student unions, residence halls, Cathedral of Learning (36 in all)
  • Student Affairs social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube)
  • Videos and Photography (see below)

Note:  Materials that we produce are distributed to Student Affairs staff and student leaders including, RAs and First Year Mentors.


We look forward to working with you to develop creative and effective visual materials to promote your event, program, or service. Our goal is to ensure quality branding for the University, the division, and your respective office.

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when submitting design requests.

  • For materials that were produced previously by our office and only require minimal edits—requests should be submitted two weeks in advance at a minimum for printed flyers, posters, and foam boards.
  • For more extensive requests and new projects involving printed brochures, banners, “swag” material, t-shirts, and full marketing campaigns, please allow at least one month turnaround, to ensure there is time for concept development, approval and printing.
  • New concepts and ideas for visuals are encouraged, but please be mindful of the complexity of the idea and the time constraints.
  • All text should be submitted at the time of the request through the project request system; you may include the content in the field on the request form or by uploading files.
  • Nothing will be sent to print or displayed digitally without final approval from the client. Please make sure you are proofreading thoroughly for typos, grammatical errors and inconsistencies.


New templates have been designed to assist you in developing quality PowerPoint presentations. They can be found on the division’s shared drive at: SA Shared—Divisional Information—Logos and Marketing Info—Power Point Templates. If you would like a custom title slide for your department please utilize the new Project Request System and work with Adam.


The University of Pittsburgh requires all divisions, departments, programs, services, and staff to utilize standardized letterhead and business cards.  The University does not permit customized letterhead or business cards.

Therefore, all Student Affairs departmental electronic letterhead can be found at: SA Shared—Divisional Information—Logos and Marketing Info—Letterhead.  If you need to print letterhead, please coordinate with Megan Speakman, assistant director for creative services (, 3-0445).

All University business cards should be ordered through the Department of Communications Services here.


Student Affairs departmental logos can be found at: SA Shared—Divisional Information—Logos and Marketing Info. Specialized logos, icons, badges, and wordmarks can be developed for programs and services (not departments) by utilizing the Project Request Form.


While our office will design promotional materials for Student Affairs staff, any student organization or department outside of the division who wants to utilize the OCC goal area icons on their marketing materials should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Click here to download the Goal Area Badge png file, or visit
  • Place the icon in the top right corner of printed flyers, digital TV screens, and all other advertisements posted online or on social media outlets.
  • The icon is 1.5” in width and height. Retain this size on all advertisements. When placing, the icon’s edge should be a minimum of 0.25” inches from the top and right margin of the page.
  • Keep goal area icon separate and not overlapping or under other text.

Please contact Amy Lavallee (, 8-7142) to make arrangements for OCC credit.


In order to be in compliance with University and Student Affairs usage policies, please coordinate ALL use of the Pitt Script logo with Megan Speakman, assistant director for creative services (, 3-0445).

For a full list of graphic design services, please see the online submission form.


As a reminder, each unit and major program is responsible for updating and maintaining pages on their respective Web sites.  Content should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis to ensure accurate information is being presented.  If you need support or training, please contact Janine for assistance.  If you wish to promote an event or service on your departmental Web site, please indicate that you wish to have a Web slider created as part of your project request.


Student Affairs hosts digital screens in the William Pitt Union, Cathedral of Learning, O’Hara Student Center, and the residence halls. The purpose of these screens is to promote events, programs, and services sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh departments and certified student organizations that enable Pitt students to engage in campus life.

Student Affairs departments can request to have their marketing materials added to these screens by selecting “Horizontal Digital TV Screen” when submitting an intake request form. If the department does not require graphic design services, submit the marketing materials here.

Non-Student Affairs departments can submit marketing materials on the Digital Signage webpage for posting to screens in the William Pitt Union and Cathedral of Learning.


Departments and programs have the autonomy to manage their social media accounts, with limited restrictions.  Please use professional discretion in what you post or re-post, and do not live tweet or post during an event without prior communication with the program manager and Sam.

Here are some additional recommendations:

  • We encourage cross-promotion of events and services throughout the Division.  Look for a message from Adam once per week with content that the Division would like to cross-promote on our various social media accounts.
  • If you would like a profile picture/cover photo developed, please indicate it on the marketing project request form.
  • Account managers should refrain from creating new hashtags.
  • Using long-standing, well-established hashtags can help you to promote your program and gives credibility to your program.
  • Creating a unique hashtag is usually not an effective way to promote your program because it takes a considerable amount of time to gain a respectable following.
  • Here is a list of common hashtags recognized by Student Affairs:
    • #PittNow – For anything that showcases the Pitt student experience
    • #PantherSuccess – Used to promote Career Development and Placement Assistance
    • #myOCC – To showcase the Outside the Classroom (OCC) experience
    • #PittCares – Anything related to community service
    • #PanthersLead – Anything related to leadership
    • #PantherPrideLivesHere – Anything related to the Residence Life experience
    • #PittRec – Anything related to Campus Recreation
    • #PittOweek2018 – Anything related to Orientation Week this year
    • #PMADD18 – Anything related to PMADD this year
    • #PittIsGreater – Anything related to Hazing Prevention
    • #ItsOnUsPitt – Anything related to Sexual Assault Prevention
    • #TurnTeal – Anything related to Sexual Violence
    • #PittTalksAboutIt – Anything related to Mental Health Awareness

This list is not all inclusive.  If you have a well-established hashtag, please let Adam know and we will update this list.

  • The following are recognized hashtags used by the University
    • #H2P
    • #PittIsIt
    • #PittNow
    • #PittGrad
    • #Pitt20XX
    • #MyPittStory

Our office sends a weekly newsletter and four content-specific emails to provide personalized communication to students.

Newsletter: Each Tuesday, the Student Affairs Newsletter provides students and staff with timely events and relevant resources.

Career: A weekly email focused on upcoming career and networking opportunities.

Community: A bi-weekly email that promotes community engagement through community service, sustainability, education, and more.

Leadership: A monthly email that promotes leadership opportunities for students personally and within their student organizations, such as Emerging Leaders and Panther Leadership Summit.

Wellness + Recreation: A bi-weekly email consisting of information about Campus Recreation activities, such as intramural sports, group exercise, and facility hours and updates. It also includes health and wellness information.

  • Use the marketing intake form for all photo and video needs, from overview videos to headshots.

  • Let us know the purpose of your video needs.

    For us to better serve you, let us know where it will be displayed, and for what purpose.

  • Schedule photo shoots in advance.

    Even if you’re just scheduling headshots or group shots that should theoretically take a few minutes, our schedules are full and complicated, and we want to make sure that someone will be available for your shoot. Scheduling a photoshoot for two days from now, with a deadline for the edited photos for three days from now, might not be doable for us if we have a lot of other projects and deadlines.

  • Ideally two weeks in advance so we have time to prepare, make sure all the correct equipment will be ready to use that day, make sure videographers are available that day, and overall ensure that the shoot happens as smoothly as possible. A lot goes into preparing for a shoot, even if the shoot itself takes only a few minutes.
  • Know that preparing for a shoot takes time. Also know that equipment setups for recording b-roll (supporting footage) and interviews (both indoors and outdoors) are very different from each other, even if they might look very similar.

    Last-minute changes to plans may be difficult for the videographer to accommodate.

  • Particularly for recap videos and highlights with no talktrack, all editing is done to the soundtrack. Asking us to change the soundtrack toward the end of the process is asking us to re-edit the entire video.

    If you have music preferences, let us know in advance.

Types of Videos:

  • Storytelling Promotion
    • These videos will explain the role, purpose, or goals of an organization or department. (1 min-3 min)
  • Event Promotion
    • The videos are used to promote upcoming events, services, or opportunities (30 sec.– 1 min)
  • Event Recap Video
    • These videos highlight an event and feature videos and interviews from the event (1 min-3min)
  • Animated Video
    • These videos are used to explain concepts or ideas, promote activities, or promote a department (30 sec – 3 min, requires longer lead time)
  • Narrative Video
    • This is a scripted piece that requires extensive planning, casting, and preparation (1-15 min long, requires longer lead time)
  • Social Media Video
    • A short video designed to express one idea quickly and be shared on social media (5 sec- 20 sec)
  • Feature Video
    • These videos tell the story of a person, place, or thing related to Pitt, but is not tied to any event or promotion. (30 sec–5 min)
  • B-Roll of an Event
    • A videographer will attend event and capture footage to be used at a future time.
  • Full Training Capture
    • A videographer will capture the entirety of presentation/training that will later be posted online for those who missed an event
  • Live Streaming
    • A crew will attend and event and live stream it via My Pitt Video. Will be a single camera shot with no graphics or alternate angles
  • Facebook Live
    • A videographer will stream short highlights from your event on Pitt Students Affairs Facebook account. Can include interviews as well

There are a variety of types of photography that our office can produce.  It is always beneficial to have a goal or purpose when asking for a photographer.  This can help determine what style and type of shot the photographer produces.

All video and photography requests can be made through the project request form.

Here are some common types of photography we produce.

  • Event Coverage
  • A photographer will attend your event, service, or activity and capture photos to be used at a future time.
  • Headshots
  • They can be taken at an event or in a scheduled time in our studio. Headshots include photo retouching as well.
  • Staged Shots
  • These shots require a pre-meeting to discuss what the goal is, any props that will be needed and what equipment will be required. Editing of the photos can be done after the fact as well.
  • Flickr
    • Select photos from events will appear on the Student Affairs’ Flickr Page, which is an online collection of photo albums chronicling Student Affairs events.  They can be found here.
    • Creating or logging into an existing Yahoo Account will enable you to download select photos.

Photo/Video Release Forms

At most events, signs will be posted announcing photography and/or videography is being taken. It is up to the individual to let the photographer and/or videographer know if they do not wish to be photographed or videoed.  For staged shots and video interviews individuals will be asked to sign release forms allowing their images and interview to be used by Student Affairs Marketing and Communications Office and/or the Department of University Communications.


To avoid event competition, the Student Affairs Programming Committee hosts a calendar to manage events across the Division. Each department has a representative with access to add events to the Programming calendar. When submitting an event, select “yes” under “University Events Calendar?” to request that the event is posted to the University Events Calendar.

If you are unsure who the Programming Committee representative in your department is or if your department does not have a representative, contact your office administrator or committee head DaVaughn Vincent-Bryan at