Please take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions below. If you have any additional questions that are not answered below, please contact Zach Berkowitz ([email protected]).
What is Freshfest?
FreshFest is the newest pre-orientation experience in partnership with the Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh. Incoming Jewish first-year students attending the University of Pittsburgh that sign up for FreshFest will have access to:
- Early Move-in: participants move in to their residence halls the Thursday before regular move-in.
- Two Days of Programming: participate in two days of activities that help them get acclimated to campus. Activities include field trips around Pittsburgh, Greek Life Panel, Study Abroad Panel, a welcome brunch for participants and their families, and more!
- Tailored Mentorship: all students paired with a returning student mentor. Mentors represent a wide variety of majors, have lived in almost every residence hall, hail from across the country, and are incredibly involved in the Pitt community. More importantly, they are all leaders on campus and at Hillel and are there to answer questions, be a guide to Pitt life, and build an enduring relationship with participants.
For any questions, please contact Zachary Berkowitz, the Janet L. Swanson Director of Jewish Student Life at Pitt, [email protected].
Why should I sign up for FreshFest?
Besides being able to move in and get accommodated to campus early, FreshFest is a great way to meet other incoming students, as well as get to hear and learn from upper-class students before the year begins.
How do I sign up?
You can sign up for FreshFest using our registration link here. Registration will open officially on July 1st.
I am a first-year student, but cannot attend FreshFest. What can I do?
If you cannot attend FreshFest, you are still welcome to attend Shabbat dinner on Friday, August 18! We also will host a variety of first-year programming during Orientation Week. Keep an eye out, as well, for an opportunity to be part of a Big/Little Program and our First Year Students at Hillel (FYSH) Board.
You can also directly contact Zach Berkowitz ([email protected]), the Director of Jewish Student Life at Pitt, if you are interested in getting involved at Hillel, or just want an opportunity to partake in first-year programming!
Do I need to notify the school about early move in?
Nope! As soon as you register for FreshFest, we let the school know to prepare for your arrival.
All first-year students who register will be able move in early, on Thursday August 17th, from 11am to 4pm. Once we are closer to this move-in date, information will be sent to all registered students and their parents/guardians letting them know where and how to park, as well as how to have the easiest move-in experience possible.
What is there for parents or families to do?
Family members are invited to an Open House on Thursday evening from 4-5:30pm at Hillel JUC. Families are also welcome to attend Shabbat dinner at Hillel JUC on Friday night. For any questions about parent/family programming, please contact [email protected].
I have a food allergy or accommodation. Is FreshFest still for me?
Of course! Hillel always serve Kosher food, and accommodates any and all food allergy or sensitivity. As FreshFest gets closer, we’ll send out a form to fill out with any important information we need from you, including allergies!
Will my RA be on my floor for early move-in?
Yes! Your RA’s have spent the week preparing for resident arrival. They will be there and notified that you are moving in early, so they can help you with any questions that you may have.
Will my Ship2Pitt boxes be in my dorm room?
Yes! Ship2Pitt boxes are placed in their designated dorm rooms on a rolling basis. If you ship your boxes before July 29th, they will be placed in your dorm room upon arrival. If you ship your boxes on or after July 29th, your boxes will be placed in your residence hall (but not your room), and you will need to bring them to your room on your own upon arrival.
Will there be move-in carts in the dorm?
Yes! There will be move-in carts in the lobby of every dorm. If there are not, you are able to call Panther Central (412-648-1100) and they can work to get carts to whichever dorm you are in.
Will there be move-in helpers from the university?
Unfortunately, no. Since the move-in for FreshFest is earlier than the university’s scheduled move-in, they are not able to provide designated move-in helpers. However, Hillel student leaders and staff will be available to help move things if you need help!
Why does my move-in date sent from the university still say August 20th or 21st?
Don’t worry! The university sets all move-in dates prior to your registration for FreshFest. However, once you are registered and paid for FreshFest, we will notify the university, and you’ll be all set to move in with us!
Are the dining halls open?
Dining halls are scheduled to open on Sunday, August 20th, so they will not be open for early-move in. If you are concerned about Kosher options, or other dietary restrictions, know that Hillel will be offering food to accommodate for any and all students and their families throughout the weekend.
What campus food options will be open early?
At the time of FreshFest, on campus dining will not be open. However, many restaurants accept Panther Funds, which can be put on your account before your arrival and can be used immediately at participating restaurants:
- Jimmy John’s
- Panera Bread
- Prince of India
- The Porch
- Viva Los Tacos
What if I have questions about my PantherID?
If your Panther ID has not arrived to your home yet, please immediately call Panther Central. If it has not arrived by the time you get to campus, you may have to visit Panther Central on campus (inside the Towers Lobby, or inside Sutherland).
If your ID does not work upon arrival, bring your ID to Panther Central and they will be able to reactivate it for you.
What is there for students to do on Saturday and Sunday after FreshFest is over, but before Welcome Week at Pitt begins?
Great question! We have optional Shabbat Day programming on Saturday, August 19th, at the Hillel building, if students are looking for a Shabbat service to attend, or are just looking for something to eat or something to do. More details are available on our Full Itinerary.
On Sunday, August 20th, Hillel is hosting a First Year and Families Bagel Brunch at our building from 12:30 to 2pm.
In addition, many of our upperclass students who are helping out at FreshFest will be around and have already shared with us that they would love to host students in their apartments (if they have one), or just find time to meet them around campus over the weekend.
Lastly, we have been informed that the Pitt Dining Halls will open on Sunday, August 20th.