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Credit: Luke Chen , Luke Chen

Penn students of today can become social impact leaders of tomorrow through a new Wharton initiative.

The Turner Social Impact Society launched this past October as part of the Wharton Social Impact Initiative. The goal of the TSIS is to create an interdisciplinary community across Penn through which students can be exposed to social impact opportunities and cultivate their passions for social change.

The TSIS is composed of select undergraduate students across Penn who are accepted into the program either as Members or Fellows. Members enter the Society to discover their passions for social impact, whereas Fellows come in already having developed expertise in a certain field of social impact. The application process utilizes a traditional paper application with GPAs and transcripts, but students are also required to elaborate on their passion for social impact.

1984  Wharton graduate Bobby Turner, a pioneer in social impact, spearheaded the launch of the program. Turner is passionate about exposing Penn students to opportunities through which they can contribute to society.

Senior Manager of Social Impact of the WSII Sandra Maro Hunt helped launch the TSIS. Hunt said the program was in part started in response to student demand.

TSIS offers its members experience, career support and a community. Students are able to participate in workshops and speaker series, to work with Penn and Wharton Career Services and to be part of a “cohort of like-minded individuals," Hunt said.

Wharton senior Saloni Gupta is one of the program's new Fellows. She heard about the program through one of her professors and applied, as she hoped it would enable her to focus on microfinance and impact investing, the areas of social impact about which she is most passionate. Since she was a junior in high school, Gupta has been loaning her own funds to female entrepreneurs through Kiva, an online peer-to-peer lending platform.

“TSIS is focused on helping us delve more deeply into what we are most interested in so we can make a greater difference not just while we are in college, but over the course of our careers," Gupta said.

Gupta and the other new members were notified of their acceptances last week. 

“We were really impressed by the caliber of students who applied to the program in its inaugural year,” Hunt said. 

The Society's next round of applications will open next fall.

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