Below is a message from the Office of University and Community Partnerships:
These past months have been an unprecedented time for the University; our students, faculty and professional staff; and our West Philadelphia neighbors. It’s never been more important to remember the importance of Drexel’s participation in the civic life of West Philadelphia and as part of a shared vibrant economy.
The Office of University and Community Partnerships coordinates and facilitates support to local small businesses, jobseekers, schools, and children and families. Our staff and partners are working to bring Drexel’s civic engagement mission to life. Here are some of the ways Drexel is embedded in the community — and how you can get involved. We encourage all of our students, faculty and professional staff to be part of this work.
Lindy Center for Civic Engagement
The Lindy Center provides programs and resources that empower Drexel students and the broader University community to expand their civic identities through engagement in mutually beneficial partnerships that can lead to a more just society. This work centers around community-based learning, civic leadership, volunteerism and community partnerships. One major program is a required Drexel undergraduate course, “CIVC101: Introduction to Civic Engagement.” This course provides first-year students introductory knowledge and frameworks to be civically engaged during their time at Drexel and beyond.
The Lindy Center is working in conjunction with the Campus Election Engagement Project (CEEP) and is hosting two Drexel CEEP fellows who will be presenting in CIVC101 and hosting voter engagement events for students throughout the Fall term. The CEEP fellows will also be working alongside Drexel Votes, an internal coalition focused on increasing the number of students who participate in the electoral process. Drexel Votes is inspired by the University's commitment to student engagement and the coalition is chaired by the Office of Government and Community Relations and the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement with support from the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, Drexel Hillel, Drexel Libraries, Drexel IT, Finance and Administrative Services, Pennoni Honors College, Student Life, Undergraduate Student Government Association, University Communications and Vision 2020.
Get involved: Students can learn more about community-based learning courses taught by faculty across the curriculum or how to participate in volunteer and work-study student civic leadership opportunities in our (fully virtual!) Drexel Community Scholars program, which places students with community sites as volunteers for a term or longer. Faculty can take advantage of professional development opportunities for advancing community-engaged work; and full-time professional staff can use 16 hours of paid civic engagement leave time through the Dragon Volunteers Program. Opportunities will be promoted throughout the term and soon we will be launching a database of nonprofit partners and volunteer opportunities that will make it easy for anyone in the Drexel community to find meaningful community engagement opportunities.
Contact: Associate Director of Community-Based Learning Carrie Hutnick. Follow the Lindy Center on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships
Just a few blocks from Drexel’s University City Campus, this University-sponsored resource center hosts creative, collaborative activities that bring Drexel’s strengths together with the ambitions and interests of local residents, organizations and businesses. Students, faculty and professional staff offer a number of programs and shared learning opportunities with neighboring communities. The Kline School of Law hosts the Andy and Gwen Stern Community Lawyering Clinic; Westphal College of Media Arts & Design offers classes in the arts; College of Arts and Sciences faculty lead university-community collaborative programs like Writers Room; the College of Nursing and Health Professions provides a range of related programs through the Community Wellness HUB; and Drexel’s Tae Kwon Do Club hosts weekly youth classes that have led to competition-winning performances. These are just a few examples. The Dornsife Center attracts over 5,000 visitors each year and is interested in partnering with more of the Drexel community to create new and interesting opportunities.
Get involved: volunteer with monthly Community Dinners (currently to-go); help design marketing materials; provide virtual classroom support for remotely held programs; help programming partners create content for at-home learning (filming, recording, editing); teach an online workshop or class to share knowledge or skills; host an online discussion on a topic in your field; collaborate with a community partner to address a pressing need or popular interest; be a Dornsife champion — share our work to help connect new community members and volunteers.
Contact: Executive Director John Kirby. Follow the Dornsife Center on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Beachell Family Learning Center
Beachell staff focus on entrepreneurship, workforce development, adult education and financial wellness programming at Drexel’s Dornsife Center. Beachell’s operations are connected to the University’s Economic Inclusion initiative to hire, buy, and build locally — in collaboration with Drexel’s Procurement, Business Services, Human Resources, and Real Estate & Facilities business units.
Get involved: provide virtual tutoring for adults pursuing a high school diploma; serve as virtual greeter for online community career fairs; provide virtual business coaching/expertise for local entrepreneurs (accounting and finance, operations, culinary arts, web design); help career-seekers with résumés, cover letters or career development strategies; be a Beachell champion — share our work to help connect new community members and volunteers.
Contact: Director of Workforce & Economic Inclusion Soneyet Muhammad. Follow Beachell on Facebook and Instagram.
Action for Early Learning (AFEL)
This Drexel-led collaboration of community, social service, and education agencies works to improve early childhood education in West Philly. AFEL works with 25 local childcare centers, as well as directors and educators, providing professional development and classroom resources; and with parents/caregivers of preschool-age children, increasing family engagement — particularly around literacy, science and kindergarten readiness.
Get involved: participate in read-alongs at childcare centers (virtual or in person); assemble family resource bags; volunteer at MLK Day Family Read Along (January) or Family Science Night (April); provide classroom assistance or conduct kindergarten readiness assessments at childcare centers (stipends available); promote and assist with kindergarten registration among West Philly families; distribute books for Book Depot among Lancaster Avenue businesses.
Contact: Project Director Maria Walker. Follow AFEL on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
West Philly Promise Neighborhood (WPPN)
Through a $30 million five-year U.S. Department of Education grant, WPPN supports “cradle-to-career” opportunities for children living and attending school in West Philly neighborhoods, and works deeply in seven local schools. The program seeks to improve education, health and economic success for children, their families, and communities, strengthening networks in and between WPPN communities.
Get involved: distribute school supplies and information at Community Day events; support local schools and provide homework help or mentorship for youth in afterschool programs; assemble resource bags.
Contact: Project Director Rachel Viddy. Follow WPPN on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
For more information, visit the Office of University and Community Partnerships website.