Civic Action Week October 5 through 10

Discover Your Pathway in Civic Engagement

This year, the Office of PittServes and the Office of Community and Governmental Relations are expanding two of the University of Pittsburgh’s traditional days of service into a week of both virtual and in-person learning and service opportunities. Civic Action Week, taking place from October 5-10, provides students with six different “pathways” to choose from — pathways are the societal themes that categorize the events, such as Community Organizing & Activism and Policy & Governance. Each event or project during Civic Action Week connects to at least one of these six pathways.
 
Similar to Pitt Make a Difference Day, Civic Action Week “works alongside community members and brings together the Pitt community to make meaningful contributions to their society,” according to Shenay Jeffrey, Assistant Director of PittServes. Those contributions will be made through two kinds of events during Civic Action Week: virtual educational sessions, and DIY at-home service projects. In the virtual sessions, students, faculty, staff, and community members will have the opportunity to discuss topics such as voting, allyship and advocacy, and community organization by focusing on how Pitt can offer support to Oakland and other Pittsburgh neighborhoods as they adjust to the challenges that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
These opportunities for discussions are “intended to connect the mission critical work of community organizations and neighborhoods to the interests of the campus community through the civic pathways,” says Jamie Ducar, the Director of Community Engagement for the Office for Community and Governmental Relations (CGR). Prior to this year, CGR has hosted Pitt Day of Caring, a day in which faculty and staff have the opportunity to work in the community on a variety of projects, similar to those that students participate in during PMADD. During Civic Action Week, civic participation will place emphasis on voting and the census, which is why the Policy & Governance pathway features events such as “Get Pittsburgh #VoteReady,” hosted by TurboVote, and “Empowering Voters, Defending Democracy.”
 
Events that fall under the Direct Service pathway will be led by students on the Signature Days of Service Committee. Volunteers can participate in both DIY projects and in-person service opportunities. Those who participate in the DIY events will receive the materials to complete projects for nonprofits including children’s activity packets for Earthen Vessels Outreach, animal toys for Humane Animal Rescue, and greeting cards for Kane Community Living Centers. “The animal toy DIY projects…are used when animals are rescued from endangering environments and are often the first symbol of safety and comfort,” Jeffrey explained. “Also, [greeting] cards created have helped [brighten] the day of veterans who are retired and living in a community with others.” This pathway allows volunteers to work with the community and create tangible solutions to community issues from the safety and comfort of their home.
 
The activity packet project for Earthen Vessels Outreach (EVO) will be co-hosted by junior Garima Patel, the chair of Civic Action Week. Patel says that EVO “reaches out to surrounding communities to give social and emotional support as well as educational empowerment to the youth.”
 
To read more about Civic Action Week, explore the civic pathways, and register for opportunities, visit the Civic Action Week website at pi.tt/civicaction.
 
By: Sara Hamilton