Penn has taken the Ivy Council's community service day and turned it into a month-long volunteer effort. They'll be painting, planting, hammering and running -- all in the name of community service. For the first time ever, the Ivy Council -- a group of 40 representatives from all eight Ivy League universities -- has officially proclaimed April 8 as "Ivy Corps," when students will devote their energy and resources to help their surrounding communities. But for Penn's Undergraduate Assembly, one day of community service isn't enough, according to Dana Becker, co-chair of the UA's West Philadelphia Committee. So the Penn "Quaker Corps" branch has scheduled projects for three additional dates. "We're hoping for this to be the first year of something that Penn continues," said Becker, a Wharton sophomore. "We hope to make more of commitment to community service, to see that it is fun and rewarding." The students have teamed up with UC Green -- a Penn initiative aimed at beautifying University City through planting and gardening -- to bring an expected 700 students and dozens of area residents out into West Philadelphia neighborhoods over the next month to work on five different projects, which include tree planting and neighborhood cleanup. UC Green Director Esaul Sanchez said he expects hundreds of fraternity brothers will join in the effort by cleaning the area surrounding their houses. "We in the community feel that fraternities must take responsibility for their property," he said. Kicking off Quaker Corps on March 25, the UA and the United Minorities Council will combine forces with community groups to plant over 50 trees in neighborhoods throughout University City. The following weekend, Penn students will participate in a massive cleanup and greening project at a playground at 45th and Sansom streets. On April 8 -- the official Ivy Corps day -- the InterFraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council and the Bi-Cultural InterGreek Council will volunteer in conjunction with Greek Week to help clean up the area, IFC Executive Vice President John Buchanan said. Buchanan, a member of Phi Kappa Psi, said the Greeks will focus on the 3800 and 4000 blocks of Walnut Street and the 3900 block of Spruce Street. "It's a good way for fraternity and sorority members to get out and help the greater University City community," the College junior said. Also on April 8, students, with the help of some teachers who have some carpentry know-how, will build a pavilion between the Lea School and West Philadelphia High School, both located on 47th Street. Finally, Becker said that the UA is trying to arrange a 5-K run on April 9 through the "Greenbelt"of West Philadelphia -- the area UC Green has focused its energy on during the past year and a half -- and will donate the proceeds to a yet-to-be-determined local school. The UA has been working with Civic House and a variety of student groups to recruit volunteers for Quaker Corps. Becker admitted that organizing a project this massive is difficult, but both she and Sanchez said they certainly expect it to have its payoffs. "To define success, we would have every single volunteer go there and do a meaningful job," Sanchez said. "You are going to say, 'Something good happened here.'"Comments powered by Disqus
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