“People started calling me with their problems ... and they said, Well, I heard you started some group. What can you do for me?”


Housekeeper, Greenfield Intercultural Center
Length of service:
4 years
Other stuff:
Also works and volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House and leads a Christian youth group in Levittown, where she lives with her husband and three children

Photo by Candace diCarlo

Kelly Kozik is a gregarious bundle of energy — “I can talk forever,” she said. And she did, about her latest effort to help others, the Adult Student Network [ASN], a virtual support group for working people enrolled in Penn’s part-time and evening degree programs. The ASN had its first formal organizational meeting Jan. 18.

On the group’s Web site, members can have open discussions of issues of concern to adult students and get private advice.

Kozik, now enrolled in the College of General Studies, got the idea for the group while enrolled in an accounting course in the Wharton School, when she found that getting a tutor required visiting the campus during normal working hours — no easy matter for people working full-time jobs. This led her to work with Academic Support Programs staff to make it possible for CGS students to obtain tutors over the phone. That led her to an effort to gauge demand for tutors during last year’s new-student orientation, and that led to...well, let her tell you.

Q. When did the Adult Student Network officially start?

A. I started it off [last academic year] with the Web site [which was originally housed on Kozik’s personal page on sas.upenn.edu]. And then during the summer, I decided, let’s have a picnic and get everybody together — it would be a family picnic. So I got some centers — the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Center, Women’s Center, African American Resource Center, GIC, CGS and tutoring — I asked them to be speakers and to give a donation towards the picnic, and they were very generous.

Q. How many people showed up at the picnic?

A. Not many. There were 10 speakers and five people — actually, there were more than five people, but only five CGS students. But I was expecting 300 people, because 100 people RSVPed that they were coming, and I was expecting that every person would have one or two children, a husband or whatever. So I had enough food and stuff for 300 people, but it was the hottest day of the summer. And so I think when people thought of a picnic [that day], they were probably thinking, Are we gonna go out and melt today? And so I think that maybe scared off a lot of people.

Q. And what did you do with those 100 names?

A. Well, I had them executed. [laughs] I wrote their names down and I started a mailing list. Also, other people who heard about it and said, Oh, I couldn’t make it — I started talking to those people.

People started calling me with their problems in the fall, andthey all said, Well, I heard you started some group. What can you do for me?

Plus during the fall, I was taking [an on-line course in CGS]. That had the perfect set-up — you all log into a Web site, and there’s a chat room, there’s message boards, there’s topic discussions and things like that. And I thought that was wonderful. But apparently it can only be used for [on-line classes], because I asked for it to be used for our group, and there was a big problem with that. And CGS didn’t even have a listserv. They finally [created one] in December, and when they
did, I started sending messages to it.

And then I saw the ad in the Bucks County Courier Times for [Web hosting for] non-profit organizations, and so I called them right up and they sent me a contract.

Q. What goals for the group came up at the meeting?

A. [One is] rating the instructors on how they accommodate CGS students in CGS courses. Sometimes there’s a majority of day students in CGS courses ’cause they don’t feel like getting up in the morning or whatever, and so the teacher will sometimes gear things towards those students even though there are rules, like they have to have any test on the same day and time as our class usually meets, but they’ll try to get around that and do things for [the day students].

We have a used book exchange. And I made an on-line form [to collect opinions about] your four foreign language courses, if we could come in and stay with the same group and same instructor for all four courses. That was tried before, and it was very successful, but for some reason it was stopped.

And we are going to campaign to make sure that CGS students register early for classes so that they don’t fill up with a lot of day students.

Q. Do you plan to charge dues?

A. Oh, nonono. No dues at all.

Q. Are you applying for Student Activities Council funding? [The ASN is recognized by SAC.]

A. Well, according to the rules, you have to have full-time students as officers in order to do that, but we’re fighting that because the fact is that we pay a general fee.

Q. Is this open to any adult student at Penn?

A. Yes. And that includes Wharton Evening.


Originally published on February 17, 2000