Civic Engagement

Civic engagement is more than philanthropy—it’s central to the intellectual experience at Penn. Whether you choose to design a business model for a nonprofit organization, help improve education at local schools, or lead public health initiatives, you can apply what you learn in the classroom in service of positive change. 

Penn’s civic outreach begins in our immediate neighborhoods and extends around the world, wherever our programs will help the most. 

Dynamic Community Partnerships

First, Be a Good Neighbor

Every day, we have experiences that show us why Philadelphia is called “the City of Brotherly Love,” and we aspire to do our part to be a good neighbor with appreciation and respect for our hometown. 

Our landmark programs and initiatives channel our best ideas and energy into proactive connections with local communities. Our students have fostered public health, helped improve education at local schools, and stimulated economic development. Our students’ work and learning in service to society in collaboration with our community’s knowledge and connections, has led to the creation of projects that not only help the entire Penn community, but also impact the world.     

Penn’s hub for civic engagement, Civic House is home to approximately 50 student-run community service and advocacy groups. 

The Robert A. Fox Leadership Program equips students with hands-on leadership experience through connections with successful leaders. 

The SNF Paideia Program serves as a hub for civic dialogue at Penn that encourages the free exchange of ideas, civil and robust discussion of divergent views, and the integration of student’s academic, personal, and professional interests.  

Penn was the first Ivy League school to sign the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment. Find out how we’re leading the way in sustainability efforts.  

Penn Public Safety keeps our community safe while offering programs such as Penn Guardian, bicycle safety, and emergency preparedness.  

More than just a neighborhood, University City is a destination to explore food and culture. Enjoy the green spaces, outdoor markets, and close-knit community.  

Landmark Global Initiatives

Penn is a leader in recruiting international faculty and is home to one of the largest and most diverse international communities in the Ivy League, so it’s only natural that our civic engagement projects extend far beyond the city limits.  

We partner with communities, organizations, and governments around the world to build networks, share ideas, and look for innovative, cross-disciplinary solutions to global problems. 

Our campus is exceptionally welcoming to international students, helping them transition to life in Philadelphia and embracing their contributions to the Penn community. The sheer number of nationalities, religions, and points of view represented on Penn’s campus make it the perfect place to prepare for life and leadership in an increasingly interconnected world. 

Penn Global provides a central location for students, faculty, administrators, and alumni to find information about Penn’s global activities on and off campus.  

The Office of the Provost for Global Initiatives provides strategic direction for Penn’s global endeavors, including support for Penn’s academic year study abroad and international student services.  

ISSS provides core services to international students, visiting scholars, faculty, and academic departments.  

Perry World House is home to Penn’s global activities, a gathering place for students and scholars to engage with issues of international concern, and an interdisciplinary research center designed to translate academic work into innovative approaches to global challenges.