News Briefs

Family Center

Family Time on Campus

When classes begin next week, students who are also parents will find a new family-friendly service on campus: the Family Resource Center. Opening its doors on Jan. 13, 2010, the Center will provide a safe, welcoming environment for studentparents and designated caregivers to spend time with their children and connect with other Penn families.

Located on the second floor of Houston Hall, Room 240, the Center will include a play area with toys, books and stuffed animals. Open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the academic year, the Center will serve as a hub for family activities, information and parenting resources. Anita Mastroieni, director of Penn’s Graduate Student Center, will serve as director.

Mastroieni says the Center was established to provide student parents “a way to connect and develop supportive networks.” She adds that Penn “has more than 500 students with children ... often spread out across different departments or graduate groups.” The Center will not provide daycare. Parents or caregivers must supervise their children at all times. Also, parents or legal guardians must register and sign a release and consent form before using the Center. Get more information and read the Center’s guidelines at

Nominate Penn athletes to Hall of Fame

Is there an outstanding Penn student athlete or coach who you think deserves to be part of the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame? This is your chance to nominate that person to be part of the seventh class of Hall of Fame inductees at a ceremony to be held in May 2010 at the Inn at Penn. Only students who earned varsity letters at least 10 years ago are eligible for nomination. Coaches nominated must have served as a men’s or women’s varsity coach at Penn for at least five years as an employee in good standing, and can no longer be coaching at Penn. Deadline for nominations is Jan. 15.

Go to (click on the “sports” tab and search for the word “general”).

Obama chooses Gutmann

Penn President Amy Gutmann has been appointed to lead the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. As Chair, she will advise President Barack Obama on a range of bioethical issues. James W. Wagner, president of Emory University, will serve as Vice Chair.

Established by an Executive Order last month, the Commission’s goal is to identify and promote policies and practices that ensure scientific research, health-care delivery and technological innovation are conducted in an ethically responsible manner. In a statement released by the White House, President Obama said, “I am confident that Amy and Jim will use their decades of experience in both ethics and science to guide the new Commission in this work.”

Represent the Earth

Last month the University announced that 27 students who live in three residence halls and one fraternity house have volunteered to become Eco-Reps, peer-to-peer educators who will heighten awareness among students about sustainability and the University’s Climate Action Plan.

The students are being trained to help other students find more ways to reduce energy consumption, recycle, conserve water and engage in other “green” behavior.

The student Eco-Reps meet weekly with a program coordinator to set goals, discuss strategies and exchange ideas. The Penn Sustainability Team is now in the process of recruiting staff members to establish an employee Eco-Rep program. Those interested should contact Julian Goresko at Additional information about the program is available at

Poetry champ wins Marshall Scholarship

University senior Joshua Bennett has been awarded the prestigious United Kingdom Government Marshall Scholarship for graduate studies in the UK. He is one of 35 winners of the scholarship and the tenth to hail from Penn.

Bennett, who is majoring in Africana Studies and English, is a member of Penn’s Excelano Project spoken word team, co-founder and former political action chair of the Penn NAACP chapter, cofounder and chair of the advocacy group Black Men United and co-founder and co-editor of the first undergraduate research journal of Africana Studies in the United States.

Through the scholarship, Bennett will study at the University of Warwick, where he will pursue an MA in Theatre and Performance Studies. He also will do research into improving education for disabled people around the world.

Bennett recently gained national acclaim as an HBO “Brave New Voices” poetry-slam champion, performing “Tamara’s Opus” at the White House Evening of Poetry, Music, and the Spoken Word last spring. Clips of Bennett’s poetry can be viewed at YouTube.

Originally published on January 7, 2010