Never A Spectator: A Civic Engagement Forum

Connect with Pittsburgh's Most Prominent Civic Leaders on February 27, 2020

Making a Difference through Active Citizenship. Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. 

Why Attend

The Never a Spectator campus event is a unique opportunity for Pitt students to network with some of the region’s most prominent leaders, including leaders from government and politics, foundation executives, and nonprofit and business leaders. Students join these visionaries for an evening and dinner reception devoted to sharing a vision for public service, inspiring action, and developing the pipeline of leadership needed to foster sustainable growth and regional transformation as Pittsburgh continues to evolve as one of America’s premier cities. 
During the event, students learn about the incredible legacy of Elsie Hillman, enjoy a keynote presentation and finally, join leaders from the government, nonprofit, and business sectors for round table discussions. Students and leaders will share visions of the future, elaborate on leadership skills, and identify existing and new avenues for civic engagement. In short, this event aims to inspire students, connect them with community leaders, and open their eyes to the difference they can make in every corner of our world.

When is this program offered?

This one day event will take place on Thursday, February 27, 2020!


  • Connect and grow relationships with established regional leaders
  • Learn how you can make a difference by getting involved with civic engagement programs at Pitt
  • Earn Outside the Classroom Curriculum (OCC) credit - Leadership Development
  • Free food!


All University of Pittsburgh students pursuing any major or degree are welcome to register and attend. 

Registration Deadline

Registration for the 2020 event will be available online on January 6, 2020. Registered students will receive a confirmation of attendance. We are very excited to host many regional leaders; therefore, we are looking for robust participation. It is requested that you do not register for the program unless you are committed to attending, as space is limited.

Application Due Date: February 22

2019 Community Mentors

The 2019 keynote presentation was delievered by Shawn Robinson, a former Pitt football player who started a non-profit called Orange Arrow, which has a mission to coach young student athletes to aim for success off the field. 

  • Samantha Balbier, Director, Institute of Politics, University of Pittsburgh
  • Jennifer Beer, Vice President of Government Affairs, Allegheny Conference
  • Mike Capsambelis, Google Product Manager and Awesome Pittsburgh Founder
  • Marita Garrett, Mayor of Wilkinsburg
  • Valerie Gaydos, PA State Representative, R-District 44
  • Saleem Ghubril, Executive Director of Pittsburgh Promise
  • Sara Innamorato, PA State Representative, D-District 21
  • Lori Mizgorski, PA State Representative, R-District 30
  • Mark Nordenberg, Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh
  • Nadyli Nuñez, Operations Director of AscenderPGH
  • Lindsay Powell, The Pittsburgh Mayor’s Assistant Chief of Staff
  • Shawn Robinson, Founder and President, Orange Arrow
  • Michael Rooney, Program Officer of the Hillman Foundation
  • Mila Sanina, Executive Director of PublicSource
  • Jada Shirriel, CEO of Healthy Start
  • Andréa Stanford, Assistant County Manager
  • Richard Taylor, CEO of ImbuTec
  • Mekael Teshome, Vice President and Senior Regional Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
  • Jeaneen Zappa, Executive Director of Conservation Consultants, Inc.