New center focuses on service

The University has established a new center to coordinate community service, to be housed in the building formerly occupied by the Department of Public Safety, 3914 Locust Walk.

The Community Service Learning Center, modeled after the Kelly Writers House, another program of the 21st Century Project for the Undergraduate Experience, will serve as a hub for students, faculty and staff who are interested in community service.

As part of its activities, the center will work to increase volunteers engaged in mentoring, school-to-work and literacy programs; house academic conferences and workshops; encourage the development of academically-based community-service groups; and publicize other service opportunities, according to a release from the provost.

The offices for the University's Program for Student-Community Involvement (PSCI), currently in Houston Hall, will move into the building to form the basis of the new center.

Building on the principles articulated in Penn's "Agenda for Excellence" and the 21st Century Project, the center intends to increase collaboration among existing University and student service organizations, including cultural and service groups, fraternities and sororities.

"The Community Service hub provides another terrific opportunity for student-led, faculty-guided programs to shape the 21st century at Penn," said Interim Provost Michael L. Wachter in a written statement. The Community Service Learning Center grew out of a suggestion put forward last year by the 21st Century Undergraduate Advisory Board.

"I'm excited about the opportunities there will be for informal meetings which will spawn collaborative efforts among groups," said Hillary Aisenstein, one of the students involved in the formation of the center. "I think this is a great chance to strengthen Penn's community service efforts and bring students together who share the same commitment and interests."

Peter Conn, the Andrea Mitchell Professor of English, has agreed to serve as faculty advisor for the center.

Originally published on January 28, 1998