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Fun, Games, and Community-Building at the Pitt Business Block Party

Pitt Business may have started a new University of Pittsburgh Homecoming tradition: the block party.

The school hosted a large party in the parking lot adjacent to Sennott Square on October 23, 2014. Attended by over 700 people, the three-hour affair offered something for everyone: free Jimmy John’s subs, music from both a DJ and the Pitt Marching Band, dancing by the Pitt cheerleaders, a visit by Roc the Panther, and games including Four Square, cornhole toss, and a dunk tank. Raffles were held to award a $1,000 Study Abroad Scholarship, a $250 gift card to the Pitt student bookstore, and prizes from the athletic department such as tickets to football games.

The brisk fall temperatures did not deter a few students and one faculty member from trying out the dunk tank. Accounting professor Ryan Teeter took the plunge after marketing professor Bob Gilbert connected with his throw. Teeter then dried off and went to teach an evening class. The dunk tank charged by each ball thrown to raise money for charity.

Faculty and staff got involved in other ways as well. Faculty members Ray Jones and Jim Kimpel and Executive in Residence Andy Hannah tested their cornhole abilities in games against the students.

Associate Dean Audrey J. Murrell, who shared a short dance with Roc the Panther, said the block party was about more than just having a good time.

“To the casual observer, the block party may have looked like it was all about fun and games. And, yes, it was about those things. But the larger purpose was to change the culture at Pitt Business. Without them even knowing it, we had hundreds of students participate in a community-building exercise that had them feeling more a part of Pitt Business,” Murrell says.

UPMC was the block party sponsor and had a team of people on hand to pass out literature about the organization. Being a Dean’s Circle Member at the Pitt Business Career Conference gave UPMC the right to sponsor the event, as well as other privileges.  Other Dean’s Circle Members have the ability to sponsor other large-scale events in upcoming months.

“The Pitt Business team worked hard and truly made it easy for us to participate," said Pam Arroyo, director of campus programs for UPMC. "We had a great time and can't wait to continue the partnership!” 

The Pitt Business Career Services team, academic advisors, and other staff were critical in planning and hosting the event. Plans are already underway to make the 2015 Pitt Business Block Party even bigger and better.