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A representative of the Squirrel Hill Coalition hands a neighborhood brochure to a Point Park student during the first-ever City In A Room event to encourage students to explore Pittsburgh. | Photo by Shayna Mendez

On a warm February afternoon, students quickly make their way into the Lawrence Hall lobby at the first sight of pizza. One student giggles and asks how much the pizza costs, and Kairat Ussenov, co-owner of Downtown pizzeria Joe & Pie, laughs and politely says, "It's free."

It is clear when students begin to look around the room that free pizza isn't the only thing to enjoy.

Point Park University's Campus Activities Board held its first-ever "City in a Room" event, encouraging students to explore Pittsburgh places like Squirrel Hill and Downtown. Representatives from the Port Authority, which operates Pittsburgh's mass transit system, and ZipCar provided information on options for getting to those areas of the city.

Louis Spanos, CAB's Explore Pittsburgh coordinator, said CAB wanted to help students get to know Pittsburgh.

"I held this event because I remember being a freshman and not knowing what there is to offer," explained Spanos, a junior majoring in sports, arts and entertainment management. "This is a great way to give students an idea of what is around the city and an idea of what they can do."

Organizations in attendance included the Squirrel Hill Coalition, with information about the many restaurants in that neighborhood, and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, which offered details about the many events like Light Up Night or Yoga in the Square - outdoor yoga sessions in the middle of Market Square.

Heather Leasure, a junior psychology major who lives on campus, said City In a Room really helped her learn more about what the city has to offer.

"Going to school in Downtown Pittsburgh definitely gives me a lot of easy access to things. It's very convenient. I learned about different things that go on Downtown like doing yoga in Market Square, I didn't know that existed until now," she said. "I also have been to Squirrel Hill several times but coming to this event actually made me want to explore the neighborhood even more."

Article by Starla Murray, junior PR and advertising major
Photos by Shayna Mendez, junior photojournalism major

More About: psychology, Campus Activities Board, sports, arts and entertainment management, Downtown Pittsburgh