Pitt students make a difference in Duquesne, North Versailles
By Michael DiVittorio
Published: Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, 4:26 a.m.
More than 3,000 Pitt students set out to have a positive impact on Saturday.
It was the university's sixth annual Make A Difference Day, and 70 towns were beneficiaries of service-oriented projects.
Students picked up garbage along Greensburg Pike and the Westinghouse Bridge in North Versailles Township, and along Kennedy and Crawford avenues and on side streets in Duquesne.
Junior Harry Clapsis, the fifth-floor resident assistant at Pitt's Litchfield Tower B, headed the 14-member brigade in North Versailles, and fourth-floor resident assistant Jacob Korb, a senior, supervised the 30 workers in Duquesne.
“The city of Pittsburgh does a lot for Pitt students,” Clapsis said. “It helps us grow. It's part of the reason we come to Pitt. This is about giving back to our community. It's just a small thing that we can do in this one day to really help out.”
“It's a great feeling,” Korb said. “It's good to be participating in our community. It was interesting on the bus ride out here; no one knew where we were going. We often don't leave Oakland. This is a great experience for (volunteers) to come to other parts of the community, to realize where they're living and to help.”
The projects were organized by Louise Beswick and Citizens Against Litter in the township, and by Duquesne Trashbashers coordinator Kirsten Pastrick. Both organize an annual spring cleanup.
“I think it's good to get young people involved in community service,” Beswick said. “It's great that they're able to come out and help us clean up the litter. We do a cleanup in April, but by the time October comes around again it's looking pretty bad.”
“They're doing a fantastic job,” Pastrick said. “We're getting a lot of the main arteries and many side streets done, and then we're going to have a lunch at the fire station. The firemen are setting that up. It's a wonderful thing.”
Pastrick graduated from Pitt in 1989.
“I am very proud of my future Pitt alumni,” she said. “It's real exciting to have them here.”
Other volunteers were Beswick's husband George, a township commissioner, and Denise Brownfield Caldwell and Catherine and Andrew Scharding from Duquesne.
Louise Beswick said it is difficult to get volunteers for cleanups.
“I think everyone has such busy lives and maybe they're just being pulled in so many different directions,” she said.
Clapsis and Korb said it was a bit of a struggle to get students out on a cold Saturday morning when there are no classes and the football team is playing on the road at Navy.
“It's tough,” Clapsis said. “I had to do a lot of advertising. There were some people on the floor who were really excited about it, and they helped get others to feel the same.”
“Waking up at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning is kind of a trial for some of these guys, but they do it,” Korb said. “Once you get to your site, you end of having a lot of fun. You get to spend a day with your friends.”
It was Korb's fourth tour of duty on Make A Difference Day.
“The number (of volunteers) has grown every year,” Korb said. “It's hard now. We're kind of capped because there's a lot of transportation involved in the process, but it's definitely an event that is well supported by the university. Everyone really gets involved.”
Volunteers elsewhere painted, landscaped and helped with Habitat for Humanity projects.
Make a Difference Day was started in 2007 through Pitt's Student Government Board and the Office of Student Life.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Lincoln Way work finally set to begin
- Clairton Seuss Cafe just what doctor ordered for love of reading
- Family, McKeesport community grieves for girl, 14, killed by truck
- McKeesport-area officials on lookout for landslides
- AIU forum bashes governor’s education budget
- 3 teens arrested in White Oak robbery
- McKeesport middle school student struck by dump truck dies in hospital
- New McKeesport committee to focus on community issues
- Hearing postponed in Versailles sex assault
- License transfer paves way for new restaurant in McKeesport
- Elizabeth resident charged in fuel theft