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A group of faculty, students and alumni will begin to aid the University Office of Admissions next year in its quest to recruit an increasingly diverse applicant pool.

The Diversity Outreach Advisory Board will include four students, four faculty members and two alumni, all of whom were selected by Dean of Admissions Lee Stetson in consultation with the Provost's Office.

"I think it will help form an even more aggressive recruitment program for this year," Stetson said.

The advisory board will focus on developing new strategies for identifying potential students and familiarizing them with Penn. These recommendations will evolve with input from the University Board of Trustees, students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and community members.

"In order for this to work ... it has to be a working-together type of movement," DOAB member and College freshman Veronica Polanco said.

"I would hate to start another group that's just about talking and being theoretical," she added, stressing that the advisory board will work to develop specific programs and mechanisms in its effort to bolster minority recruitment.

The advisory board was formed after Polanco and members of the Student Movement for Change approached the Admissions Office about the need to improve recruitment strategies.

Stetson "was very encouraging, and he was surprised I actually approached him," Polanco said.

Pointing out that "Latinos especially have been having this battle about retention at Penn," Polanco said that the new advisory board is "going to try to develop a new approach to recruiting students."

Although the board will not meet until the fall semester gears up, members are already planning some new approaches to recruiting.

Suggestions could include funding travel arrangements so that potential students can visit Penn and encouraging regional admissions directors to expand their core network of high schools, according to Polanco.

Penn has long aimed to improve its minority student recruitment and retention, and admissions officers hope that the new advisory board's innovations will accelerate that process.

"As we widen our recruitment activities and broaden the scope of our reach, this panel will help us on techniques and approaches to do it even more effectively," Stetson said.

Polanco, too, hopes to see the board's work translate into visible results in the near future.

"I don't think it'll be immediate, but hopefully it will [produce results] in the next two years," she said.

Stetson has lofty ambitions for the advisory board members.

"It will be a very highly motivated group of people as we make plans for our future."

Staffer reporter Jon Passaro contributed to this report.

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