Fact Sheet: Engaging Locally
Penn's local engagement includes academic leadership and social responsibility in carrying out the University's core activities of teaching, research, clinical practice, and social service.
By working alongside others to benefit society, our campus community reaffirms what Penn's founder Benjamin Franklin called “an inclination to serve mankind, one's Country, Friends and Family.”
Penn's vision for development is sustainable, equitable, and empowering. We collaborate with local communities to improve public education, health, economic development, employment opportunities, quality of life, and the physical landscape of University City and Philadelphia, and promote sustainable and equitable economic growth throughout the region.
Improving local education, healthcare and economic opportunity
Penn's engagement with the community aligns with the principles of Benjamin Franklin, who believed that the destiny of an eminent University is inextricably tied to the well-being of the people it serves.
Penn is making a dramatic difference in public education in West Philadelphia with efforts led primarily by The Netter Center for Community Partnerships, the Graduate School of Education, and the Provost's Center.
The Netter Center has been the locus for many of Penn's community engagement efforts, most notably the development nine university-assisted community schools, where Penn students and faculty provide instruction, support and partnership to local schools that extends to all members of the community in which the school is located. A key component of these schools is academically based community service, a problem-solving approach to learning that simultaneously addresses community problems while improving education.The community school model developed at Penn, which now serves as a model for other university-assisted schools around the country, was awarded the inaugural W.T. Grant Foundation Youth Development Prize in recognition of "high-quality, evidence-based collaborative efforts that generate significant advances in knowledge while increasing the opportunities for young people to move successfully through adolescence with ample support and care."
Number of Students in Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) Courses
The number of Penn students enrolled in ABCS courses has increased by 62 percent since 2004. Penn offers 62 ABCS courses across 21 departments and 5 schools, adding 17 new ABCS courses since 2006.
The Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative (AUNI) is a major component of the university-assisted community schools program. AUNI works to improve community nutrition and health↑particularly obesity, poor nutrition and related diseases such as diabetes↑by developing and implementing a comprehensive set of activities in specified neighborhoods.
The first and most successful university-assisted community school developed by Penn and local partners is the Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander University of Pennsylvania Partnership School (Penn Alexander), which enrolls students in grades Pre-K through 8. Founded in 1998 and located on the edge of Penn's West Philadelphia campus, the school boasts a culturally diverse student body, academic excellence in literacy, math and science as well as a unique system that blends the best educational methods with programs
Since opening in 2001, Penn Alexander's enrollment has grown to 550 students from West Philadelphia. The school has quickly become a national success story for effective partnerships between universities and public schools: Its math and reading scores are well above the state average, and the School District of Philadelphia named it the #1 elementary school in the District for academic excellence. Penn Alexander also was commended as the "gold standard" by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities for using the most effective, research-proven educational practices in its classrooms.
Penn contributes $700,000 yearly to the school, which amounts to $1,300 extra spending on each pupil. But more than just financially, students benefit from the direct involvement of Penn faculty and students in curriculum development, classroom instruction and the creation of professional development courses and workshops for staff. Students and faculty from Penn's Graduate School of Education are integrally involved in the school, as are students from the general Penn community who serve as student teachers, interns, tutors, leaders of after-school clubs and pen pals.
Due to the remarkable achievements at Penn Alexander, the University has been selected to assist the city's School Reform Commission in making improvements in student achievement at Lea Elementary School and Wilson Elementary School, both now identified as Penn Partnership schools.
The Penn Engineering Outreach Project for Livelihood and Education (PEOPLE) strives to raise awareness of engineering as a possible career path for students in greater Philadelphia. School of Engineering and Applied Science students work directly with Penn engineering faculty and staff to create interactive presentations about engineering for students in elementary, middle and high schools.
The Provost's Summer Mentorship Program, a partnership with the School District of Philadelphia, immerses local high school students in a true, on-campus college experience. A four-week summer program follows specialized, school-based curricula and hands-on activities, developed and led by faculty, administrators, and staff across Penn's schools. The summer program introduces students to higher education, potential fields of study, and new career opportunities. Throughout the following year, Penn staff provide additional follow-up opportunities for students to apply and extend the summer learning experience, including SAT preparation courses, college essay practice, and other academic and interpersonal activities. The Provost's Summer Mentorship Program seeks to enhance students' high school experiences and position them for admission to the colleges and universities of their choice.
The Vice Provost for University Life's (VPUL) Equity and Access Programs nurture the academic aspirations of hundreds of local community members each year, from middle school through graduate study. Youth-based programs such as Talent Search, Upward Bound, and Upward Bound Math Science help to guide promising local middle and high school students toward college. Adult-based programs, including the Educational Opportunity Center and Veterans Upward Bound, assist adult community members seeking to return to education or extend their current educational experiences. With support services that help students enhance learning in core academic subjects, manage time, find financial aid, meet mentors, and feel more confident about their abilities, Equity and Access Programs provide community members a pipeline of opportunities for educational success.
The health of West Philadelphia residents benefits from the combined efforts of the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) as well as Penn's schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dental Medicine, and others.
Penn Medicine integrates the resources of UPHS and the nation's first School of Medicine resulting in a wide network of more than 18,000 physicians, nurses and other clinical personnel with expertise in every area of general and specialized medicine. UPHS’s three hospitals serve tens of thousands of Philadelphia area residents, and provide more than $100 million annually in charity and underfunded health care through healthcare services delivered in hospitals, health centers and various community clinics.
UPHS’s three hospitals serve tens of thousands of Philadelphia area residents, and provide more than $100 million annually in charity and underfunded health care...
In West Philadelphia, the Drew Health Collaborative, the Penn Mobile Trials Unit, the United Community Clinic and the Sayre Health Center are all administered through Penn Medicine with the support of students and faculty from the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dental Medicine and Social Policy and Practice, as well as expertise from the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships. These clinics provide neighborhood health fairs, free testing and screening, and free pre-natal care and counseling support. The Sayre High School Health Center is part of a university-assisted, school-based community health initiative and preventive health clinic that is open to the entire community.
Puentes de Salud, which translates to "Bridges of Health," is a Southwest Philadelphia clinic specifically dedicated to serving the medical and social needs of the undocumented Latino community. The clinic serves an average of 30-35 patients each day. Puentes de Salud receives support from faculty and students from across the Penn community, including organizations such as Penn Language Link, a student-run organization made up of students from the Medical School, the School of Nursing, and other undergraduates, who translate brochures and other informational materials from English to Spanish.
Bridging the Gaps is a seven-week-long program that last year matched 230 student interns with 105 nonprofit community partners in Philadelphia. Through these partnerships, students provided 6,000 days of health-related services to communities that are often
About 8,000 Philadelphia public school children receive free preventive and restorative dental care from Penn's School of Dental Medicine students each year. Dental students carry out state-mandated dental examinations in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia dental students carry out state-mandated dental examinations on children in 14 public schools. They also provide dental care services to schoolchildren using the PennSmiles mobile dental bus at 11 schools and summer programs.
The School of Nursing's LIFE (Living Independently for Elders) Center, serves more than 350 senior citizens yearly in South and West Philadelphia through nursing, medical, psychiatric, therapeutic and pastoral care from its location on the border of the University's West Philadelphia campus. Last year, 160 Penn students from Nursing, Medicine, Education and Wharton devoted more than 2,800 hours of care to community-based service learning at LIFE. These services save the Commonwealth an estimated 15-20 percent in Medicaid reimbursement costs annually. (source?)
Since opening in 1998, LIFE has served as a model for 10 similar health care centers in Pennsylvania, and has been credited with enabling elderly members of the local community to remain in their own homes longer by providing improved access to routine medical care, a community of recreational and social support and individualized treatment.
Penn has committed significant financial resources to sustaining the local economy and neighborhood culture by purchasing more than $85.7 million in products and services from community businesses last fiscal year, with $69.9 million of that going to diversity-owned suppliers. According to a report by Econsult, Penn's yearly expenditures generate nearly $6.5 billion in economic impact for Philadelphia, or 3 percent of the city's economy. As the city's largest private employer, Penn paid $91 million in taxes to the City of Philadelphia in 2009.
Local Impact FY09
|$698,000||Contribution to Philadelphia School District for Penn Alexander students|
|$2.4M||Contribution to University City District|
|$12M||Student aid to Philadelphia residents enrolled at Penn|
|$91M||Wages and other taxes paid to City of Philadelphia|
Penn has leveraged its investments in public safety, and enhanced mortgage programs, economic development, and neighborhood beautification efforts to attract new homeowners and nearly a half-billion dollars of private investment in retail and new business development throughout University City. The neighborhood's arts and culture scene is thriving, and more than 300,000 square feet of retail space managed by Penn is 100%-occupied, contributing to a lively 24/7 ambience at 40th and Walnut Streets.
Penn also has leased University-owned property to private developers, who have in turn built new market-rate housing and ground-floor retail at 40th and Chestnut streets, 3900 Walnut Street and 34th and Chestnut streets.
The University City District, which Penn helped to establish in 1997, now plays a leading role in revitalizing the commercial corridors along Baltimore and Lancaster Avenues. At the same time, UC Green, created by Penn to spearhead volunteer beautification projects, has planted 100 trees in West Powelton, just north of Penn's campus, with the help of hundreds of Penn students.
Penn has entered a new phase of building that is generating new jobs for local residents and new private investment in West Philadelphia and along the Schuylkill River.
For example, the construction phase of Penn's Raymond and Ruth Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine created more than 1,500 jobs with more than $40 million in wages and benefits, as well as $3 million in wage tax revenues. Opened in 2008, this state-of-the-art cancer, cardiovascular, and ambulatory care center will generate nearly 1,700 jobs, as well as $129 million in wages and benefits and $72 million in goods and services annually.
At the same time, the watchword of the University's economic practices is inclusion. Penn is using its considerable purchasing and construction capacity, as well as its academic expertise, to encourage local business growth, empower minority and women business owners, provide women and minorities with greater access to the skilled and higher-paying trades, and create jobs. Local residents have filled more than half of the jobs created by Penn's retail ventures. Approximately 35% of all Penn construction jobs have gone to minority and women workers, and 26% of all contracts have been awarded to minority and women owned businesses.
The number of students involved in Penn's Academically Based Community Service courses has grown by more than 60 percent since 2004: Last year, more than 1,800 Penn students worked in schools, health clinics and other venues as part of their academic experience.
Founded in 1992, the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships is Penn's primary vehicle for bringing to bear the broad range of human knowledge needed to solve the complex, comprehensive, and interconnected problems of the American city so that West Philadelphia (Penn's local geographic community), Philadelphia, the University itself, and society benefit. The Netter Center is based on three core propositions: That Penn's future and the future of its city and community are intertwined; that Penn can make a significant contribution to improving the quality of life in West Philadelphia; and that Penn can enhance its overall mission of advancing and transmitting knowledge by helping to improve the quality of life in West Philadelphia and the city.
As the campus hub for student community engagement, Civic House is Penn's home for students involved in service and social advocacy work. Bringing together more than 40 student-led organizations, Civic House provides training for civically engaged students and programming that links them with careers in the public interest. Civic House helps students challenge themselves to develop robust, creative and productive collaborations with community partners to address locally-defined issues.
Last year, approximately 3,000 students under the Civic House banner provided more than 75,000 hours of volunteer service in and around the Philadelphia community. One such group, the West Philadelphia Tutoring Project involves approximately 300 Penn tutors each semester. These volunteers work with children in eight West Philadelphia K-12 public schools.
Home to many innovative service programs, in 2008, the School of Arts and Sciences' Fox Leadership Program celebrated its 1,000th match of Penn student volunteers with Philadelphia area youngsters through the oldest and largest mentoring organizations, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America. The milestone highlighted a history of partnership that has distinguished the University as the largest campus Big Brothers/Big Sisters program in the nation. Research has shown that young people matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister perform better in school, have better relationships with their parents and are significantly less likely to start using drugs or alcohol.
More than two decades ago, Penn Law became the first law school in the nation to institute a mandatory pro bono requirement for graduation. Since then, nearly 4,000 Penn Law students have met and exceeded the minimum 70-hours of public service required, providing more than 350,000 hours of legal service to the community. Through their work, the students have helped to bridge the divide between those who can afford quality legal services and those who cannot. About one-third of last year's graduating class chose to volunteer far beyond the 70-hour requirement.
Last year, graduating Penn Law students worked for more than 100 organizations, devoting more than 24,000 hours of free services to people and causes in need of legal assistance.
The Toll Public Interest Center is a multi-faceted co-curricular program with a mission to provide Penn Law students with meaningful opportunities to deliver pro bono legal service to underserved communities. Each year, the Public Service Program places about 600 students in several hundred non-profit organizations, government agencies and other public interest organizations. Last year, graduating Penn Law students worked for more than 100 organizations, devoting more than 24,000 hours of free services to people and causes in need of legal assistance. Students assisted clients on projects that ranged from representing homeless and low-income individuals through the Homeless Advocacy Project in West Philadelphia to developing and teaching a constitutional literacy curriculum in inner-city public schools.
The School of Social Policy and Practice's Master of Social Work (MSW) students spend three, eight-hour days per week in one of the hundreds of field placement opportunities available in the Greater Philadelphia area taking on clinical, research, administration and policy assignments that benefit the community. As part of their required field work, MSW students collectively invest 250,000 hours a year in social services and advocacy.
The School of Engineering and Applied Science's CommuniTech is a student-driven organization of more than 50 Penn students who assist neighborhoods in need by supplying computers and providing training on how to use them effectively. Student volunteers have made a broad impact across the community through service that ranges from work with middle-school students at Penn Partnership schools and other schools in West Philadelphia in a program called Middle School Mentoring at Penn, to providing local non-profit organizations with technology training and support.
Social responsibility has been part of the Wharton curriculum since Joseph Wharton founded the school in 1881. One of the many ways Wharton gives back to the community today is through the Wharton Tax Assistance Program. Through the United Way's Campaign for Working Families, student volunteers help bring thousands of dollars to low- and moderate-income working families by increasing the number of qualified community residents who file for the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit. In January of each year, student volunteers receive IRS tax training and, after certification, go to multiple sites in West Philadelphia to provide free, one-on-one tax preparation services. Students volunteer three hours per week from January through April, and on average acquire about $51,000 annually in credits to the families they serve.
Further community outreach comes from the 60 members of the Wharton Community Consultants. An organization managed entirely by Wharton MBA and undergraduate students who volunteer their time, the WCC provides advisory services to non-profit and community organizations throughout the Philadelphia area. Projects undertaken by the WCC include cost analysis, direct/database marketing, financial planning and budgeting, growth strategy, new product and service development, public relations and much more.
Students from the School of Design collaborated with government and community groups and designed a sustainable apartment building in the Powelton area that recently opened for homeless single mothers with children. Programs such as Wharton's Rebuilding Together, SAS's Alternate Spring Break and Civic House's Habitat for Humanity offer students other ways to participate in hands-on service. Rebuilding Together mobilizes more than 200 undergraduate and graduate students to repair West Philadelphia homes in poor condition, primarily supporting the elderly, disabled, and single-parent families. Penn's Habitat for Humanity chapter helps provide affordable housing for area families in need.
Shelter Animal Medicine is an integral part of the School of Veterinary Medicine's ABCS curriculum and provides valuable medical assistance to the vulnerable animal population of the Philadelphia area. As part of the program, each of the school's 245 third- and fourth-year surgical students perform neutering on shelter, foster and rescue dogs through the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). The program also provides Penn Vet students firsthand experience with important urban animal issues such as pet overpopulation, infectious disease control and animal abuse.
Since the early 1980's, Penn students, faculty, staff and their therapy-certified dogs have made weekly visits to the Ronald McDonald House to spend time with critically ill children and their families. The therapy dog program, known as VETPETS, is a collaborative effort between the School of Veterinary Medicine, Penn's Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House.
Penn's 30-year campus development plan, "Penn Connects," is designed to expand Penn's campus to the east and bridge the University with Philadelphia's Center City, further establishing University City as a commercial center and a growing community.
The plan will establish a University presence along the Schuylkill River Corridor as well as new connections and gateways between the campus, Center City, and the neighboring communities. In addition, expanding east from campus will accommodate significant development potential for future academic, research and cultural programs without displacing current residents.
The Penn Connects plan recommends a sustainable approach to development, with a particular focus on the opportunities available in the east expansion area. Specific green initiatives include a long-term plan for carbon reduction, high-performance buildings to reduce energy consumption, smart land-use planning and increased open space, mitigating storm water issues, and improving recycling practices.
Scheduled to open in 2011, this signature urban park along the western edge of the Schuylkill River includes recreational and athletic amenities, new public gathering spaces, and pathways to link campus with the newly acquired land to the east. The parcel, located south of Walnut Street, with Amtrak rail lines to the east and the SEPTA rail corridor to the west, includes 14 acres of land Penn purchased from the U.S. Postal Service in 2007 as well as 10 acres the University already owned below South Street. The park will bring 20 percent more green space to the urban campus, while creating a new gateway connecting University City with Center City.
Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine
Opened in 2008, the Perelman Center is the latest example in a national trend toward caring for patients in an environment designed to speed diagnosis and treatment and enhance patient comfort and convenience. The Perelman Center links Penn's expert physicians and clinical researchers in new ways, by putting them just an idea's reach away from one another, always prepared to collaborate and create groundbreaking, individualized treatment plans. The 500,000-square-foot outpatient facility is the new home to 12 clinical specialties whose staff will work together in multi-disciplinary teams aided by state-of-the-art medical technology. This seamless integration of services creates a real-time medicine model that helps ensure each patient receives the right diagnosis and the right therapy at the right time.
The Roberts Proton Therapy Center, opened in 2009 as part of the Abramson Cancer Center at Perelman, is a first-of-its-kind proton therapy center for the treatment of cancer. The Roberts Proton Therapy Center is the largest, most comprehensive proton therapy center in the world and one of only six such centers in the country. The center integrates conventional radiation treatment with proton radiation, which more accurately targets tumors and leaves surrounding, healthy tissue unaffected, providing thousands of patients from all over the world the most advanced cancer treatment available.
Scheduled to open in 2010, the focus of the School of Medicine's Translational Research Center will be to house research initiatives that integrate the range of biomedical disciplines required to achieve advances in the understanding of disease and the development of new therapies. In addition to providing space for interdisciplinary research, the building's close physical proximity to Penn Medicine's patient-care facilities in the new Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine is intended to facilitate communication and the exchange of ideas among clinicians and researchers on new discoveries, techniques and technologies. In addition to biomedical laboratories, the building will include clinical/patient-oriented research facilities, imaging, offices, and supportive research space.
The Singh Center groundbreaking is scheduled to begin in late 2010, and will be located along the north side of Walnut Street, and among the first major academic buildings that one will encounter when campus is approached from the east. This new nanotech research facility will encourage the collaboration, exchange, and integration of knowledge that characterizes the study of this emerging field, and will combine the resources of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the School of Arts and Sciences, providing cutting-edge resources for nanotechnology researchers not available anywhere else in the Philadelphia region.
The renovation and addition of the music building were completed in the Fall of 2009, preserving the existing historic structure and expanding the building to house faculty offices, classrooms, and practice rooms, reflecting the modern needs of the department.
This new weight training and fitness center, opened in Spring 2010, has allowed for the expansion of the intercollegiate athletic weight training program and houses a varsity weight room, recreation fitness center, and retail spaces.
The new Law School building will replace the existing building with a multi-story, multi-use facility. The envisioned building will provide increased space in the complex for faculty offices, research centers, administrative offices, student organizations, teaching facilities, and spaces designed for interactions that foster the cross-disciplinary thinking for which Penn Law is widely known. It is scheduled for completion in December 2011.
The new home for the Annenberg Public Policy Center was completed in May 2009, housing the primary research departments of the Center, featuring a state-of-the-art public forum, and being located adjacent to the Annenberg School in the core of Penn's campus.