News Briefs

Taking action

On Sept. 16, Penn will release its Climate Action Plan, which includes ways—big and small—in which the University seeks to reduce its carbon footprint. The plan originated after President Amy Gutmann signed the Presidential Climate Commitment pledge of the American Association of Sustainability in Higher Education in 2007.

Written by a committee of staff, faculty and students over a two-and-a-half year period, Penn’s plan includes numerous green goals, including a 5 percent reduction of energy across campus by 2010 and an 18 percent reduction by 2014. The plan also calls for a 40 percent increase in recycling by 2014—with at least one recycling bin on every floor of all buildings on campus—as well as erecting new LEED-certified buildings and landscapes, and encouraging the University population to walk, bike or take public transit, and participate in Penn’s green courses and professional development.

For more information on Penn’s green practices, go to The Green Campus Partnership website:

Testing, 1, 2. . .

The speakers playing the Westminster Chimes late last month aren’t part of a new campus outdoor music service. They’re actually part of a new Siren Outdoor System, or Penn SOS, designed to transmit emergency message to the outdoor campus community. In an emergency, Penn—and presumably, some parts of the surrounding neighborhood—would hear a siren and then information or instructions. The Chimes were played to test the 13 speakers, so officials could synchronize them, ensure voice intelligibility and adjust the sounds levels.

Penn SOS is one component of the UPennAlert Emergency Notification System. About 52,000 people already receive alerts on electronic devices in case of an emergency; the outdoor system is designed for those who aren’t near a computer, cell phone, or other handheld device.

Monthly tests using the Westminster Chimes will be conducted on the first Friday of each month at 11 a.m., beginning Oct. 2. The actual siren will be tested in conjunction with the annual UPennAlert drill. Notifications will be made to the campus and community before the test.

To listen to all possible siren sounds, and read more about Penn SOS, visit Penn Public Safety’s website:

Arts—all year long

Penn is teeming with arts activities—from the student-run to the world-renowned. This year, the University celebrates the creative culture on campus, in the city and throughout the region, with the Arts & the City Year. On Sept. 22, the University officially celebrates its partnership with the city on this initiative, which is dedicated to reaffirming the essential role of arts and culture in campus and city life.

Starting this fall, and running through the spring of 2010, Penn will host performances, lectures and other events, including a Campus Arts Crawl on Friday, Nov. 20, and a range of classes, concerts, tours, children’s events and film screenings to complement the Homecoming football game on Nov. 6 and 7.

There is also an Arts Grants Program to support faculty, staff or student projects that offer opportunities to create, participate in and learn about the arts on campus and in Philadelphia. Proposals will be considered no later than Oct. 1 for fall term projects and Feb. 1, 2010 for spring term projects.

For more information on all Arts & the City Year events and grants, visit the website:

Originally published on September 3, 2009