The Perks of Having a Pitt ID: Reflections of a Graduating Senior

As a second semester senior, I’ve spent much of the past few months reflecting on all the wonderful things the University of Pittsburgh has given me: drawers filled with navy and gold clothes, an appreciation for the 24-hour Rite Aid, a multitude of “Cathy” pictures on my cell phone, and, most purposefully, a vast body of knowledge to use in the “real world.” Beyond facts and theories, I’ve experienced more in these four years than in all 18 leading up to college; and I’ve made great friends to share it all with. 

Pitt didn’t stop there. The University made living in a new city accessible, convenient, and affordable. That little blue and green card (giving the false impression that we actually have a campus) can do so much more than let you into your dorm and cost you 20 dollars (that is, when you lose it). Here is a list of seven reasons why Pitt IDs are useful beyond your dorm room.

1. Free transportation

Our Pitt ID is like a rectangular magic wand. Walk onto the bus, hold it to a magnetic strip, and presto—you’re off to a part of the city where you’ve never been. Want to go to student rush at the Consol Center? How about shopping on Walnut Street? Or strolling along the strip of bars and shops on East Carson Street? Not all universities in the city have that advantage.


2. Free culture

Pitt students are admitted free of charge to the following: Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History, The Andy Warhol Museum, The Mattress Factory, and Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The Carnegie International exhibition is going on until March 16th if you’re interested in seeing displays from around the globe. If you’d rather experience living forms, signing up through Pitt Arts is a great way to see the Opera, ballet, plays, the symphony and more. For eight dollars they take you out to dinner and a show! And you don’t even have to invite them in your dorm afterwards.


3. Free Health & Wellness

Every dorm has a 24-hour gym, and for those living off-campus there are workout facilities in Bellefield Hall, Trees Hall, and the Petersen Events Center. For those of you who enjoy the cathartic, full body workout of swimming, head up to Trees or over to Bellefield. I’ll especially miss the pools seeing as I really don’t want to pay monthly for a gym membership. As for our minds, attached to Student Health is the Counseling Center where there are psychologists and psychiatrists ready to help us with the fluctuating emotional climate that is college. If you want to learn more stress-relieving techniques, go down to the Stress Free Zone next to Sub Connection in Schenley Café. 


4. Discounted Sporting Events

If you happen to intern or work in Pittsburgh for the summer, the Pirates offer student discounts Sunday through Friday. Even if you’re not a baseball fan, going into PNC Park is worth the trip if only to see the beautiful view of the skyline from the water. Speaking of Pittsburgh sports, an hour prior to game time the Penguins have “student rush” tickets for only 25 dollars. Need I mention that our Pitt IDs get us into the Petersen Events Center for only five dollars? Men’s basketball tickets for seats half as good as the Zoo run for at least 40 dollars. Why spend that much money when we could put it towards eight Antoon’s pizzas?


5. Free and Discounted Technology

Pitt’s computer services offer free software and downloads to its students as well as discounts when buying a new computer! We can’t forget about our 900 free prints per semester, which I admit to taking for granted because I recently realized how expensive ink really is. I bought printer ink and paper after maxing out my quota without realizing we can buy prints for seven cents each—$20 down the drain.


6. Random Discounts

Some of these may be true for all student IDs, but they are perks nonetheless.  Flashing our ID at Charlotte Russe gets you 10% off any purchase—their jewelry is my personal favorite. India Garden on Atwood Street gives students 15% off meals. The vegetarian chili and Indian music videos are worth the jaunt through South Oakland. Qdoba on Forbes Avenue gives a free drink with a Pitt ID. Use it for a chaser or a drink to hydrate your hangover. Southside Works Movie Theater does five dollar movie Mondays for students, and the rest of the week students get one dollar off. AMC Lowes at the Waterfront is another movie theater with student discounts.


7. PNC/Panther Card

Though this isn’t technically a discount, I’ve found it incredibly useful. PNC Bank has a partnership with Pitt so students can link their ATM cards to their panther cards. Once the accounts are linked, your panther card will work in any ATM! This is great for football games at Heinz Field because the concession stands don’t take debit cards- just bring your Pitt ID and use the ATM there. This way if you drop your wallet while being thrown in the air after a touchdown, you don’t have to frantically call the bank to cancel your debit card.


Post-graduation life is going to be a tough adjustment without my Pitt ID by my side, and I plan to keep taking advantage of it. Who knows what types of discounts and freebies we’ll stumble upon with a little exploration?  


Photo Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4