News briefs

Top good guy

Penn has grabbed the top position in U.S. News & World Report’s new ranking of programs that use community service as an instructional strategy. The poll coincides with the 10th anniversary of Penn’s Center for Community Partnerships, which has worked with schools from across the University to promote community service as a way to better integrate Penn and West Philadelphia. Because of this collaboration, students can now choose from more than 120 classes defined as academically-based community service courses. Penn shares the honor with Stanford University and Berea College.


As part of a campaign to promote food stamps to the people who qualify—working poor, elderly, legal immigrants and low income families—the U.S. Department of Agriculture has granted more than $300,000 to Mary Summers, a senior fellow in the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program. Students from Summers’ “Politics of Food” course, work-study students and volunteers will conduct a major education and screening campaign to encourage food stamp use in Philadelphia. Hillary Aisenstein, director of Penn’s Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development, will seek volunteers from Philadelphia-area campuses to support the effort.

Prayer for Cupid

First comes church, then comes marriage? A study by the Center for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society shows that frequent church attendance increases the odds of marriage for urban women. “Churches promote the values and virtues that make for good marriages, and they also provide young people with marriage role models,” said W. Bradford Wilcox, author of the report and a non-resident fellow at the Center. He found that urban mothers who attend church several times a month or more are 100 percent more likely to be married at the time of giving birth than urban mothers who do not attend church frequently.

Originally published on October 17, 2002