Fourteen Days of Engagement Challenge

Since this is the Year of Engagement, you might be asking yourself, “What does it mean to be engaged?” Indeed, what people think of when they think of “engagement” differs tremendously based on our individual backgrounds and experiences.

Over the first fourteen days of September, we are challenging you to better understand what “engagement” means for different people and what it means to you individually. By sharing this journey via social media (Twitter), we can learn from one another and help to educate our campus, our local community, and the world on what it means to be an engaged citizen of this planet. Thus, each day will approach the idea of engagement from a different perspective to give our Pitt Community a small flavor of the breadth of this term. We hope this serves as a springboard to launch you deeper into engagement on a specific topic or theme throughout the year.  

How it works: Each day, @PittTweet will provide a prompt to ask participants to consider the idea of engagement from a different perspective to give the Pitt community a small flavor of the breadth of what “engagement” means. Each of the prompts can also be found below.
To participate: Each time you complete a daily challenge, you must document it by tagging posts with a screenshot or some marker that you’ve participated in the challenge using the hashtag: #PittEngage. 

Prizes:  For participants whose tweets receive the most likes, daily prizes equivalent to a cash value of $100 each will be awarded. Three overall grand prizes of $1,000 will be awarded after the challenge to schools, centers, departments and students organizations affiliated with the University based on likes from a single Twitter account. 

Things to Know:

  • To enter to win, your post must use #PittEngage! This is how we’ll be tracking and retweeting, so be sure to include that hashtag.
  • Make sure your Twitter account is public! We want to share your awesome entries, so make sure your account is public so we can retweet your posts!


September 1 - Day 1: Share what Engagement Means to You

Come explore ENGAGEMENT with us!  Engagement means something different to everyone. Today, we want you to reflect on what it means to you. Share it in a Tweet, or even download one of our Zoom backgrounds and screenshot it with your post! 
Get ready for a transformative fourteen days of exploring engagement!

September 2 - Day 2: Read “African American Inequality in the United States”

This year, the topic of racial justice has been at the heart of many conversations around the country. You may have joined these conversations and shared opinions. However, in this time when so many people are sharing thoughts, it becomes difficult to establish a base of knowledge on which we can agree. With the general election only months away, it is important to educate ourselves so that we can engage in discussions from an informed position. The authors of the article “African American Inequality in the United States”, which has been published in the Harvard Business Review, had just this in mind and thus aimed to develop a distilled summary of racial inequity in the United States.  Today’s challenge is to read this article and engage in a discussion about it with friends, colleagues, and/or members of your family. 

September 3 - Day 3: Register to Vote and/or Request a ballot

We want to make sure members of the Pitt community always are aware of when elections are happening, and have the information needed to vote with confidence. Sign up to receive election reminders, get registered to vote, & apply for your absentee ballot! TurboVote is an online tool that helps in every election - local, state and national. Free and easy to use and can assist individuals from all 50 states and D.C.  

September 4 - Day 4: Take the Harvard Implicit Bias Test

All of us have implicit biases. We are aware of some of them while we are not aware of others.  Our biases can affect our interactions with others and affect the ways in which we engage in our communities. These simple implicit bias tests will help you identify your biases. By becoming more aware of them, the hope is that you can become more aware of how they affect your interactions and engagement with others. So, take an implicit bias test. Write about what you learned and how it will help you change your behavior. Share with a friend.

September 5 -Day 5: Get to Know your Local History

 “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has,” Margaret Meade. 

Using this statement as your focal point, identify a significant change that occurred in the region in which you live.  Identify the individuals that joined together to make that change.  Describe that change and how they made it happen.  Share your findings with a group of which you are a member and determine what you can learn from that to make change happen in your community.

September 6- Day 6: Be a Good Neighbor 

Who is your “neighbor”? It could be someone living near you or someone that works in close proximity. A close friend or a complete stranger. The word “neighbor” can mean various things to each of us; however, we all have a sense for what it means to be a good neighbor. Thus, today’s challenge is simply about making a collective space (physical, emotional, or otherwise) that we share with neighbors better for all. This could include participating in an online service project, cleaning up the garbage/litter around your area or in your community, donating food, learning about and helping others with living safety, or simply starting a conversation (safely) with a neighbor or business owner. It is also a day where you can practice pride of place! Where do you live and why are you proud of your neighborhood? It is a day to put others before yourself by being willing to take on some burden in order to reduce that on others.  Make Mister Rogers proud!
Here are some sources of inspiration:

September 7 - Day 7: Highlight Engagement Being Done by Yourself, a Colleague, or a Peer

Take a moment to give a virtual applause to a colleague, community member, student, family member or anyone that is doing amazing work in their own small or large way. Simply say “thank you” or give a shout-out for a job well done. 
To explore, check out the Engagement and Outreach Map, which was developed to understand what connections have been established. In using the interactive search tool, you can locate organizations on a map, find out if there is an existing relationship with a Pitt colleague and learn about the activities that are already underway. The map, which first launched in 2018, is maintained by the Office of Community and Governmental Relations and the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center. Learn more about the Engagement and Outreach Map.

September 8- Day 8:  Go Global!

We are part of a global community.  Today, we ask you to explore the work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). NGO activities include, but are not limited to, environmental, social, advocacy and human rights work. They can work to promote social or political change on a broad scale or very locally. NGOs play a critical part in developing society, improving communities, and promoting citizen participation. The list in the link above is clearly not exhaustive, but it provides a glimpse of the work of NGOs. What NGO is most important to you and why?

September 9 - Day 9: Take the Civic Pathways Survey

Everyone learns differently, has different passions, and has their own unique set of skills and abilities -- so why should civic engagement look the same for everyone? We don’t think it should! Take the Civic Pathways Survey now to see what kind of civic engagement is the best fit for you: community engaged learning & research, community organizing & activism, direct service, philanthropy, policy & governance, or social entrepreneurship & corporate social responsibility. Meaningful engagement is not one size fits all; take the Civic Pathways survey today to see what works best for you. For non-Pitt particiapants, you can take another Pathways Survey of Public Service and Civing Engagement.

September 10 - Day 10: Violence Prevention

Community violence is a reality, regardless of who you are or where you live. It’s important to be educated about what kind of violence happens in your community, who it affects most, and what you can do to prevent or mitigate it. For example, look into what gun violence looks like in Allegheny County, then join an organization like Students Demand Action or Not My Generation. Or research what sexual violence looks like on campus, then join a sexual violence prevention organization on campus like SECCS or volunteer with an off-campus organization like PAAR. Tell us what you have learned about violence prevention and how to get engaged.

September 11 - Day 11: Healthy Relationships/Sexuality

Today we focus on nurturing our interpersonal relationships and celebrating our sexualities. One of the ways to counter sexual violence and relationship abuse is by creating spaces where we can engage in candid conversations about what healthy, consensual, supportive, pleasurable, and safe sexual relationships look like. 

Activities to consider:

September 12 - Day 12: Support a Minority, Woman, Veteran, or Disabled Individual 

There are so many in our communities that are underappreciated for the work that they do and the contributions that they have made. Those that are underrepresented in our society include minorities, women, veterans, and disabled individuals; yet, they help to form the backbone of communities and have contributed tremendously towards advancing our global society. Today we want you to show your support for an individual or individuals that represent one or all of these groups. Support their businesses, give to their charities and foundations, highlight the important roles they play and the contributions that they have made or are making in our communities. Share with others how we can better engage to support these individuals and groups.   

September 13 -Day 13: Do Something Kind for Someone Else

A little bit of kindness can go a long way. As we engage at Pitt, Pittsburgh, our state and even around the world, it is important that we remain kind and support people in various ways. Kindness is not just about grand gestures as it can come in all forms. Kindness can be holding the door open for someone, buying someone a cup of coffee, donating a canned good to a food bank or donating blood.

September 14 - Day 14: Commit to How You Plan to Engage This Year

Get out your calendar!  Commit to three different ways in which you will engage locally, nationally, or globally this academic year.  Mark the dates on your calendar when you will complete those actions.  Post your commitments on social media by using text, a photo, video, meme, story board or visual bullet.  Post reflections about your completed actions on social media.