Pittsburgh, PA
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4 College Freshman

Facilities: The campus itself is very visually appealing as well as the buildings.

3 College Freshman

Facilities: Chatham is an all womens college.

4 College Junior

Facilities: Chatham's campus is BEAUTIFUL and it does not feel like you're in the city at all! It is so nice to sit outside on a warm day, and there are always events happening and student appreciations - like free massages for graduate students!

4 College Junior

Facilities: I think that having a school that is focused on sustainability and the environment is a wonderful attribute, and there are many opportunities that I have had as a Chatham student that I did not have before. The networking opportunities and cultural experiences that Chatham offers in Pittsburgh have been great, and the Food Studies program has connections to nonprofits, organizations, restaurants, community groups, etc. all over the city.

4 College Junior

Facilities: The facilities are good, but I feel like they could use a lot of work, like our cafeteria.


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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 107th
    Greenest Campuses
  • 517th
    Best Athletic Facilities
  • 746th
    Best Library
  • 1171st
    Best Performance Venues
  • 1259th
    Best Student Centers

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Elizabeth Dorssom
Redondo Beach, CA
Women's Studies
Grad Year
View all previous student authors

Chatham's facilities are well maintained and clean. The Athletic & Fitness Center is the newest building on campus, as well as one of the most beautiful and useful. Built in 2004, this $19 million facility serves as a place for students to exercise and practice. It features a competition-sized pool, suspended running track, dance and aerobics studio, rock-climbing wall, and two squash courts. The library is a bit hard to get through, but students can use programs such as EZ-Borrow, the interlibrary loan service, or online databases to find the information they need for their projects. Café Rachel and Weathervane Snack Bar are great places to study or meet friends. And, not only are Chatham’s facilities nice to look at, but they are also accessible and accommodating to students with disabilities—there are elevators and wheelchair ramps in most buildings, with the exception of the Art & Design Center. Overall, Chatham's buildings are practical, useful, and add to the beauty of the campus.

Students have more than enough to do on campus, especially since the Chatham Activities Board (CAB) revamped its programming strategies. The Tuesday Night Edge program offers a range of activities from planting bamboo to throwing pies at resident assistants. Late Night Mayhem is held every Thursday and offers different events and private screenings of movies. With on-campus programming and off-campus excursions, there's always enough for students to do.

Facts & Statistics

Service & Maintenance Staff
Campus Size
39 acres (main campus)
Student Centers
Carriage House
Campus Library?
Main Libraries
Jennie King Mellon Library
Popular Places to Chill
  • Café Rachel
  • Common areas of residence halls
  • Jennie King Mellon Library
  • The quad
Bar on Campus
Starting in fall 2011, Café Rachel in Woodland Hall will serve alcohol to all Chatham community members 21 years of age or older. On the first Wednesday of every month, Café Rachel will host happy hours with giveaways, drinks, and snacks.
Bowling on Campus
None on the Shadyside campus, although a vintage bowling alley is available at Eden Hall.
Coffeehouse on Campus
Café Rachel in Woodland Hall
Movie Theater on Campus
"Green" Initiatives
Chatham University is known for being environmentally conscious. Some of Chatham's recent green initiatives include installing solar panels on Fickes and Woodland halls, and eliminating single-use takeout boxes in Anderson Dining Hall. Starting in fall 2011, any student using a to-go container will receive a reusable container. When students finish using the containers, they are expected to bring it back the next time they need a to-go container. Employees will then supply them with a clean container and wash the used container.
Chatham also utilizes Green Machines (buses that run on biodiesel), an extensive recycling program, composts in the dining facilities, and recycles cooking oil into biofuel. The University has not used chemical pesticides on campus for at least the past 10 years, and Parkhurst, Chatham's food service provider, buys some of its food locally. Green Horizons is a student-led organization that promotes environmental awareness on campus and holds various events to educate students about their impact on the environment. In terms of academics, Chatham recently created the School of Sustainability & the Environment.
School Slang
  • ADC: Art & Design Center
  • AFC : Athletic & Fitness Center
  • BFC: Braun Falk Coolidge Complex
  • Chesbian: A female student who becomes a lesbian after attending Chatham
  • Communique: The student-run newspaper by Chatham University
  • Eastside : Chatham's East Liberty campus
  • The Farm : Chatham's Eden Hall Farm campus
  • GRD: Graduate resident director; a graduate student who lives in one of the undergraduate residence halls and assists with conflicts, mediation, programming in the residence hall, and work orders.
  • Green Machines : Chatham's inter-campus shuttle that runs on biodiesel
  • The Hub : The Student Services Center, which used to be called the Hub; the more convenient name stuck even after it was renamed.
  • RA: A resident assistant is an undergraduate student who lives in the residence halls and handles roommate conflicts and maintenance issues.
  • Airband, Senior Skits and Senior Superlatives : This tradition is broken up into two parts. The first, Airband, is a lip-sync and dance competition. Anyone can enter with any song, and a panel of faculty and staff picks a winner at the end of the performances. The second part is Senior Skits. Underclasswomen dress up as various seniors and perform a skit that playfully mocks the seniors for traits for which they are well-known, as well as honors their time at Chatham. After Senior Skits, Senior Superlatives are awarded by members of the senior class.
  • Battle of the Classes: Each November, the four class years compete against one another in a week-long Battle of the Classes. Events include window painting (where each class is given a window in Anderson Dining Hall to decorate), a community service event, participation in on-campus events (for which each class receives participation points), a relay race, and finally, "Song Contest." For this, each class puts Chatham-themed lyrics to the melodies of popular songs. What results is very entertaining, generally involving skits, props, and media presentations.
  • Buckets & Blossoms : At the end of spring semester, Chatham students pitch in to beautify the campus for the graduation ceremonies. Students are divided into groups which are then assigned to various parts of campus such as Mellon or JKM Library. Each group then mulches and plants flowers. In previous years, students have been rewarded for their volunteer efforts with a commemorative T-shirt and picnic.
  • Candlelight, Chatham Eggnog and Winter Ball: Every December, about a week before finals, Chatham holds all three of these traditions on the same night. Candlelight is held in the chapel and is essentially a nondenominational winter church service with singing, readings, and finally a candle-lighting ceremony. After Candlelight, everyone heads to the Mellon Board Room for eggnog, where hors d'oeuvres, punch, and, of course, eggnog are served. Students mingle with faculty, staff, and one another. Once Chatham Eggnog has concluded, students head to Winter Ball, a dance held in the atrium of the Buhl Science Building. The dance is big at first, but dwindles quickly as most students end up going out. These three traditions also mark the first night that first-year students may have overnight guests.
  • Closing Convocation : The reverse of Opening Convocation, this event is also held in the chapel but at the end of the year. Academic and service awards are bestowed, and the senior class passes on its class color. At this event, seniors wear their graduation gowns and "tutorial hats," which are decorated with the theme of that senior's tutorial (senior thesis project) to represent the work she has done. Closing Convocation also serves as a "moving up ceremony" for each class to move to the class she will be in the next year (juniors to seniors, sophomores to juniors, and first-years to sophomores).
  • Fall Serenade: During New & Transfer Student Orientation, first-year and transfer students gather in the Athletic & Fitness Center to learn the Chatham alma mater from the orientation leaders; once they have learned the alma mater, the new students walk down the road to the president's home, where she is waiting on her front porch with various faculty. The assembled students serenade the group, after which they are invited into the president's home for refreshments. This is the first time many new students meet the University president.
  • First-Year Ice Cream Social: Each fall, members of the incoming class are paired with big sisters-alumnae who have either completed the same major as their little sister or are from the same hometown. First-year students meet their big sisters at the ice cream social, held within the first few weeks of school.
  • Ghost Walk: Ghost Walk occurs during Family & Friends Weekend in late October. Student tour guides walk around campus and tell spooky stories about many of the buildings on campus!
  • House Olympics: Residents in each residence hall compete against one another in a week-long event. Participation points are awarded for attending on-campus events and participating in various relay races and contests. At the end of the week, the winning residence hall is awarded a prize.
  • Moonlight Breakfast: During finals week, professors and other Chatham employees serve and cook breakfast for students the evening before finals start. It is a great way to relax before final exams!
  • Opening Convocation : At the start of each school year, Chatham holds Opening Convocation in the chapel. The University president and faculty are there in full regalia. There are speakers with a connection to Chatham's global focus region of the year, usually an ambassador to the country/region or a visiting professor. The senior class is presented, and the other classes are welcomed. Afterward, a picnic lunch/dinner is held on the quad. The food and music/entertainment are also themed around that year's "global focus" country/region.
  • Spring Fling: Hosted by Student Activities, this event is held each year at the end of the spring semester. There are bounce houses and other inflatables, crafts, games, and other stress-free activities. Some years this event is accompanied by live music and craft fairs, but it depends on that year's Student Activities staff and the weather on the day of the event.
  • Spring Formal : This formal dance is held toward the end of April. Students may bring off-campus guests, and the location changes each year. Past Spring Formals have been held at the Lexus Club at PNC Park and on the Duchess ship of the Gateway Clipper Fleet. Dinner is also served, and alcohol is available to students 21 and older with proper identification.
  • Tutorial Bonfire: After the spring due date for tutorials (Chatham's version of a senior thesis that every student has to complete to graduate), the seniors gather in front of the chapel where music is played, refreshments are served, and extra copies of the tutorial are burned in a giant bonfire.
  • University Day: University Day marks the anniversary of May 1, 2007, when Chatham College became Chatham University. Students celebrate with a picnic and by performing the Traditional Maypole Dance. This event often coincides with Closing Convocation and Buckets & Blossoms.
Urban Legends
  • Chatham used to have a system of underground tunnels that connected all of the buildings. It is said that when the buildings were populated as mansions, the residents of the homes used them to have affairs with one another.
  • Fickes Hall was once the private residence of Edwin Stanton Fickes, who gained wealth as a prominent associate of the Aluminum Company of America. Students have been awoken by feeling of pressure upon their mattress, but they didn't see anything. Later, they were woken up again by the sounds of banging and screaming emanating from inside of the closet. The closet door had been shut, and the only thing inside the closet had been clothes and a full-length mirror. After calling Public Safety, it was discovered that the mirror had morphed into a u-shape, although the glass had not been shattered. A little boy is said to haunt Fickes, as well. This child used to bounce his ball around the hallway until, one day, the ball bounced out the window. When the little boy tried to reach it, he fell out of the window and died. To this day, students say they hear noises of a ball bouncing. A room on the second floor of Fickes used to be a nursery, and the nurse would sleep in the room with the baby. The baby died, and the nurse hanged herself in the closet. Students can now see a dead baby and hear the nurse screaming.
  • Laughlin House was donated by the Laughlin family of Jones and Laughlin Steel. The dining room on the first floor was used by the Laughlin family to lay out deceased family members for funeral services. To this day, the room will get cold at unexpected times. Students have described ghostly presences in their dorm rooms. Windows sometimes blow open or slam shut, or belongings disappear and reappear in other places. Other students have woken up to find a man in a white shirt sitting at the end of their bed staring at them. It is rumored that a Laughlin family member fell down the basement stairs and died. Now students who walk down the staircase feel a push or pull down the stairs as if someone is trying to make them fall.
  • Mellon, the administration building, was donated to Chatham in 1940 by Andrew Mellon's son. When passing Andrew Mellon's portrait, one must greet Andrew Mellon politely in passing or it is said that he will cause horrible things to happen to you.
  • Rea was donated by the Rea family, affiliated with a prominent iron foundry in Pittsburgh. Mrs. Rea is rumored to have had an affair with Mr. Laughlin and when Mr. Laughlin decided to end it, Mrs. Rea became so upset she hanged herself in a closet. Students can now feel the presence of a woman around Rea; this ghost is known to move furniture around in different dorm rooms. Children were always in the house, and to this day, children are often heard running around in the upper floors of Rea, and noises of crying babies are heard often, as well. Rea used to be an asylum for the elderly, too.
  • The Carriage House (home to Student Affairs, the post office, and the bookstore) used to be the home of many of Mellon's servants. These servants still roam around the Carriage House as though it is still their home. The radiators clang randomly, and it's always cold, even if the heat is on. Students have reported seeing faces in the windows at night and hearing footsteps even when no one is around.
  • Woodland Hall was built in 1909, and in 1952 housed an infirmary. Students in Woodland have heard little children's voices in the hall saying, "Let's play! Let's play!" "The Blue Lady" is said to haunt Woodland, as well. Students will see a blue shape in the air. One girl claimed to see it really late at night in the elevator. She saw a blue image in the air, and it seemed to follow her to her room and suddenly disappear. No one knows who this figure is.
Favorite Things To Do
Despite being a small campus, there are a variety of activities students can participate in for fun. Besides hanging out in Café Rachel, the Weathervane Snack Bar, or in the common areas of residence halls, students can also socialize by being active. When the weather is warm, students enjoy socializing on the quad, playing ultimate Frisbee or football. In cold weather, many students like to sled down Chapel Hill and build snow sculptures. Students also frequently attend on-campus events, particularly anything that has to do with food, arts and crafts, or free T-shirts.
Student Newspaper
Clubs and Organizations on Campus
Most students on Chatham's campus are involved in at least one student organization-if not more. There are standard organizations, like Chatham Student Government; academic organizations, like Biology Society, Creative Writing Club, and Pre-Physician Assistant Club; athletic organizations like Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC); and other organizations like Students Against Sexual Oppression (SASO) and Black Student Union (BSU). Organizations are always looking for members, so most are easy to join, and in the event that students can't find an organization that suits their particular interest, they only need 10 other students and a faculty adviser to petition Chatham Student Government to form their own organization.
Student Activities Offered
  • Campus ministries
  • Choral groups
  • Dance
  • Drama/theater
  • International student organization
  • Literary magazine
  • Music ensembles
  • Student government
  • Yearbook
Air Force ROTC: No
Navy ROTC: No
Army ROTC: No
Did You Know?
  • Chatham University's Shadyside campus does not currently have a bowling alley although it is rumored that one once existed in Mellon. There is a vintage bowling alley available on the Eden Hall campus.
  • Each semester, Chatham University hosts a Student Activities Fair where student organizations can recruit members!
  • There is a group of three turkeys that makes Chatham its home each fall. Sometimes these turkeys like to chase students around campus!

Student Polls

Rate the campus facilities in the following areas    Based on 33 responses

Very poor
  • Athletics/recreation
  • Classrooms
  • Computer labs
  • Dining
  • General aesthetics/architecture of campus
  • "Green" buildings/initiatives
  • Housing
  • Lawns/green space
  • Library
  • Modernity of facilities
  • Performing arts
  • Science/research labs
  • Student center
  • Study spots
  • Visual arts (work spaces, galleries)

How would you describe the student center/union?    Based on 41 responses

  • 17% The student center is in need of a major renovation.
  • 54% The student center serves its purpose but is not a popular hangout.
  • 17% The student center is great but isn't central to student life.
  • 12% The student center is state-of-the-art and the hub of student life.

What is your overall opinion of your school and the campus community?    Based on 29 responses

  • 7% I hate my school and have no school spirit.
  • 10% The school community is okay-we're all just here for an education, nothing more.
  • 62% I like mostly everything about my school, but there are some things I wish were different.
  • 21% I love everything about my school and have a lot of campus pride.



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