Point Park tradition helps first-year residents meet floormates, make friends, feel at home
For the last three years, Point Park University has offered incoming freshmen the opportunity to live in a Living and Learning Community within the University's residents halls. Each LLC has a theme, such as the Writer's Colony or the Silver Screen. The LLC program is intended to connect students with similar interests the moment they arrive on campus.
Pizza with the President is the first major LLC event of the academic year and has become a tremendous opportunity for freshmen to get to know each other, make friends and form a strong bond within their specific LLC. The event is a competition broken down into three major parts: mural painting on their residence hall floor, decorating their hall and performing skits. Each component of the competition needs to be unique and tie into the theme of the LLC floor. During the final stage, the skits are performed at a rally with all of the LLC residents, a panel of judges, and Point Park President Paul Hennigan.
Julia Gongaware, LLC Coordinator in the Office of Campus Life, organized this year's event.
"It was a lot of work but I think the students executed each piece of the competition really well," said Gongaware. "Our Community Facilitators, who are sort of like Resident Assistants, had such a good time. They really wanted to be involved."
A new piece to the competition puzzle this year involved Twitter. The Office of Campus Life has a life-size cardboard cutout of President Hennigan, which was taken to various destinations around Downtown Pittsburgh. The week before mural painting began, a new picture of "President Hennigan" at a Downtown location was posted via Twitter each day. The first LLC floor to Tweet a picture of themselves where "President Hennigan" had been won a prize for their floor.
"I think Pizza with the President in general, and this new Twitter element specifically, really shows that President Hennigan is willing to put himself out there in a way that is accessible to students," Gongaware said. "He wants them to know that he is there for them throughout their time at Point Park."
This year's winner of the Pizza with the President competition was the Community Service floor in Thayer Hall. Not only did the students win the overall competition, they also swept the entire Twitter competition. The students had dinner with President Hennigan on a special evening in mid-November.
"The entire Pizza with the President event was an awesome experience for my floor," said Ashleigh Henry, community facilitator for the Community Service LLC. "It was amazing to see my residents donate their various talents to paint a mural, decorate our hallway and design a skit!
"My residents had a positive attitude and energy about the entire process and were overjoyed to see all of their hard work pay off! ' Henry explained. "Having dinner with the president is a unique experience about which the residents of the 8th floor of Thayer Hall are extremely excited."
- Learn more about Point Park's Living and Learning Communities
The following galleries depict the different stages of the Pizza with the President competition.
Click on the images below to launch the slideshows.
Hall decorating and judging