APAGS serves two main purposes: as a voice in the department for the graduate students and as a center for social activities within the department. As the appointed APAGS Co-Presidents, we would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you joining our community. Please feel comfortable to approach us with any problems and/or concerns related to graduate student life within and outside of the department. This year, APAGS also welcome: the newly established sub-committee led by Sonja Cwik and Erin Fierro to address and expand our graduate student social media presence, and Women in Physics and Astronomy group that will be holding meetings as well as the existing WISE (Women in Science and Engineering Graduate Student Organization).
We try to hold approximately one party each semester. In the past, these parties have varied from Halloween and Holiday parties to frequent beer and pizza get-togethers. Each Wednesday the department supplies bagels and donuts for the 4:00 PM departmental coffee hour. We will also be holding less regular events, such as potlucks, picnics, and informational sessions throughout the school year. We encourage you to take full advantage of these opportunities to get to know your fellow graduate students as well as the faculty members and staff.
We’ll keep you informed of new events in the future through emails and posters. You could also follow us on Graduate Student Life. In order to share the burden of organization of our parties, specific tasks may be assigned to those who volunteer to help. After you get settled into the department, please let us know if you have any interest in being involved in organizing.
This year, APAGS is happy to welcome a few new organizations to our department. Graduate and undergraduate students have joined together to form Women in Physics and Astronomy and Pitt Physics Pride, which we hope will help to foster communities for women and LGBTQ members of community respectively. Both groups will be meeting regularly at soon-to-be-announced dates and times.
Now, here is some possibly useful information about housing. Most graduate students at PITT live in the neighborhoods of North & South Oakland, which are within walking distance to campus, or Squirrel Hill, Bloomfield, and Shadyside, which are a short, free bus ride away. We recommend searching for housing information from the university off-campus housing website, the classifieds section of local newspapers and on-line real estate services (such as Zillow), or just wandering around the neighborhoods you are interested in looking for "For Rent" signs and calling the posted phone number. Also, you will surely find that most of your fellow graduate students are valuable sources of advice and guidance – use them well! Good luck!
Congratulations once again to you on behalf of all physics graduate students and welcome to our department! We look forward to seeing you this fall!