Penn Receives Highest Presidential Recognition for Community Service

Honored for its commitment to civic and local engagement through community service and service learning, Penn was one of five institutions in the country to receive the Presidential Award in the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

The President’s Award is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to community service. All told, the Penn community contributed 441,526 service hours in the past academic year.

Penn received the top award in the “Summer Learning” category. In its many summer programs, Penn provides a safe, healthy environment for academic enrichment during summer breaks to help students retain what they learned during the academic year. Penn’s summer-learning programs include math and literacy-based tutoring, camps encouraging exploration of new fields of learning, and community service-based high school internships.

Also, the School of Engineering and Applied Science administers a free science, technology, and engineering camp for middle school students, targeting underrepresented minorities and girls. The University also engages local high school students in the camps to serve as mentors to their young counterparts.

Penn students serve West Philadelphia elementary students with literacy and math-based programming through Freedom School, a six-week summer program. Local high school students mentored by Penn students help lead the classrooms and engage kids in project-based learning involving art, dance, cooking, and field trips.

Joann Weeks, associate director of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, and David Grossman, director of Civic House and the Civic Scholars Program, were presented with the award March 12 at the annual American Council on Education meeting in Los Angeles. Some 642 colleges and universities were honored for their impact on their communities.

A full list of recipients and descriptions of their service can be found here.