Panther Walking Route - Stop 7: William Pitt Union @ Fifth Avenue

Stop 7: William Pitt Union @ Fifth Avenue

Why You're Here

The William Pitt Union was built in 1898 and acquired in 1956. The building was designed in the Beaux-Arts style, an academic architectural style popular during the 18th and 19th centuries that draws upon principles of French neoclassicism, and is located adjacent to the Cathedral of Learning, Litchfield Towers, and other notable Pitt buildings.

The William Pitt Union originally opened as Hotel Schenley in 1898 and had hosted every U.S. president from Theodore Roosevelt to Dwight D. Eisenhower, as well as a variety of cultural luminaries. Visiting ball players, professors, and students joined the Schenley's guestlist as of 1909 when Forbes Field--third home to the Pittsburgh Pirates, first home to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and first home to the Pitt Panthers, opened nearby and when Pitt relocated its campus from the North Side to Oakland.

Since being acquired by the University, the William Pitt Union has evolved into a student center in the heart of the Pittsburgh campus, offering spaces for the Pitt community to meet, eat, study, and work. Notable organizations that work out of the William Pitt Union include The Pitt News, WPTS (the student radio station), and the student government.

Sustainability Initiatives

The William Pitt Union is home to the Student Office of Sustainability, which fosters environmental awareness throughout the Pitt community. The Student Office of Sustainability participates in daily composting to help reduce waste on campus.

The Schenley Cafe, located on the lower level of the Union, participates in "Choose to Reuse," a program promoting reusable containers at various on-campus eateries. At certain restaurants in Schenley Cafe, diners may ask for their meal to be served in a reusable container in which they will be charged a one-time fee of $0.99. After a diner finishes their meal, they can deposit the container in a spot in the Schenley Cafe or at a designated area in the Cathedral Cafe and collect a token to be reused the next time they dine. The goal is to expand this program across campus to serve 50% of to-go meals in reusable containers by 2025.

Health and Wellness

Once a place of resting and relaxation from the days of the Schenley Hotel, the William Pitt Union is now host to lots of activities and wellness initiatives:

  • A student fitness center on the third floor includes a dance studio and cycling studio
  • A Stress Free Zone on the third floor offers students a space to learn and practice stress reducation techniques, such as yoga and meditation
  • The home to the First Year Experience Office and the Office of Student Life, which are dedicated to ensuring that Pitt students are acclimating to college life and to provide students tools to make the best of their college experience

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