Community Involvement

Inspired by what Benjamin Franklin called "an serve mankind," Penn weaves civic awareness and action into campus life.

Penn Compact 2020: Building on a Decade of Progress

Penn engages locally, nationally and globally to bring the benefits of our research, teaching and service to individuals and communities at home and around the world.

Penn Compact

Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships
The Netter Center is Penn’s central administrative office for community partnership programs, including academically based community service, direct traditional service, and community development.

Office of Government and Community Affairs
OGCA manages relationships with government and community leaders, advocates for policies and legislation consistent with the University's goals, and shapes local engagement initiatives.

Community Service Initiatives

Community Service at Penn
Programs and services that bring campus and community together:

Academically Based Community Service
Courses, internships, and other academic programs that incorporate community service into the curriculum.

Civic House
Penn's community service hub, promoting student citizenship and outreach to the community.

Penn Volunteers in Public Service (Penn VIPS)
Information for faculty and staff interested in participating in community service through Penn.

Upward Bound and Veterans Upward Bound
Programs that give precollege students a head start on higher education and veterans an opportunity to earn a college degree.

Other Services and Initiatives

Community Housing
Information and services for prospective and current homeowners and renters.

Penn Resources & Facilities Open to the Public
A comprehensive list of campus facilities and activities that are open to all.

Penn & Philadelphia

Philadelphia—a historic city and vibrant cultural center—infuses Penn with the energy of urban life. Students, faculty, and staff enjoy cultural offerings that include museums and galleries, theater, dance, music, historical landmarks, and the cuisine of renowned chefs.

To fulfill Penn's commitment to local engagement—an important part of President Amy Gutmann's Penn Compact 2020—Penn collaborates with local communities on many bold initiatives. Penn seeks to promote safe neighborhoods, attract and support area businesses, encourage homeownership, and improve public education. The Netter Center for Community Partnerships oversees a powerful array of projects and programs, with multiple initiatives to improve West Philadelphia education, including developing early-childhood reading and math skills, raising interest in science, and bridging the digital divide. Other programs include Community Arts Partnership, which place an artist-in-residence in the West Philadelphia schools, supports after-school programs, and fund a Penn-West Philadelphia arts exchange called the Foundation.

In the spirit of Penn's commitment to putting knowledge to use, many students, faculty, staff, and alumni contribute time to these initiatives. A broad range of undergraduate and graduate Academically Based Community Service courses combine intellectual learning with active involvement.