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The Scott Paper Company, famed for its napkins and paper towels, has awarded University public service programs a half million dollars to help clean up the urgent problems of the inner city. The program, now in its eighth year, allows students at the University to work with West Philadelphians to find and implement solutions to urban problems. Scott chose the University as a result of its successful recruiting efforts here, and its committment to the communities in which it operates, according to Doug Bauer, Scott's manager of corporate contributions. "Our communities have to succeed with us," he said. "We look at children as the thing to focus on, and programs with children who are in need." The grant will fund the summer salaries of the 10 to 15 interns who participate in the program each year, according to University spokesperson Carl Maugeri. The participants research community issues and work with community leaders to solve urban problems. The program was created eight years ago by History professor Ira Harkavy, as a part of the West Philadelphia Improvement Corps. WEPIC works with Turner Middle School in West Philadephia as an experiment in public-private cooperation, Magueri said, attempting to turn public schools into community centers. "There are many efforts on the part of Penn to reach out to the community, but in this case the undergraduates use their skills to effect change," said Maugeri. "The critical difference is that this form of public service also helps in the learning process." Ira Harkavy, the program's director, said he is pleased by both the results of the program and Scott Paper's decision to endow the project. "The students do work and help urban Philadelphia," Harkavy said. "This benefits the University as well as society. There will now be a long term continuous contribution to the community." He said he expects the the program to be a model for future cooperative efforts. "This is the kind of activity Penn and other universities will be developing because it puts minds to work," he said. University administrators also said they are pleased with the progress of the program. "This generous grant from Scott will help us to make a permanent link between academically based community service and research and teaching at Penn," President Sheldon Hackney said in a statement. Joe Gaeta, a College senior who this year is spending his second summer in the program, said while challenging, the program is worthwhile for all those involved. "The program is intense," Gaeta said. "The students participate in active roles in the community and also participate in research oriented to the project." Gaeta added that Scott's donation confirms the importance of the project. "In Scott Paper endowing the project, they have recognized its importance, and now it will live on forever, a model for future relationships between communities and universities."

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