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Credit: Carson Kahoe

A campaign created by Penn two years ago to encourage community dialogue will head into the fall semester with an open calendar.

The University announced its Campaign for Community in April 2015 in an effort to bring different groups on campus together through discussion and forum events. Headed by the Office of the Provost, the initiative awarded over $30,000 in grants to 25 events last year, according to Beth Winkelstein, the vice provost for Education and Campaign for Community co-chair.

Previous events have ranged from a Black Lives Matter art showcase to a Feminism 101 film screening.

The campaign’s second year comes at a time of heightened racial tensions across the country following several police shootings as well as a highly divisive presidential election. Winkelstein said the campaign is especially interested in applications that respond to recent national events.

The Campaign for Community is not short of resources — it “didn’t come close to exhausting our budget,” Campaign for Community co-chair and Penn professor Reed Pyeritz said. With the upcoming year, the campaign’s steering committee will aim for even more participation from the campus community.

“The provost has promised the same level of support for this year,” Pyeritz said. “I hope there will be more enthusiasm and more suggestions.”

Campaign for Community is headed by three co-chairs — Pyeritz, Winkelstein and Vice Provost for University Life Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum. Pyeritz said all three met a few weeks ago.

“In our second year, we would like to increase the breadth of issues in C4C events and reach an even broader representation of the Penn community,” Winkelstein said in an emailed statement.

The campaign’s goals for this semester will align closely to those of last year’s, according to Pyeritz.

“[Our goals are] basically the same as they were last year, which is to stimulate and support activities that bring the entire university community together, whether it be large events or small events,” Pyeritz said.

The entire steering committee of the campaign has yet to meet in the new academic year, meaning that no events have currently been scheduled for the fall.

“We have no idea at this point,” Pyeritz said. “It’s an ongoing process. There’s no point in time when the agenda for the entire semester is laid out. We have the capacity to meet quite spontaneously to determine if one project is worthy of support. This could be done literally over the course of a few days.”

Campaign for Community recently implemented changes to streamline its application process, said Winkelstein, which will “help us be more responsive more quickly to developing news and events.” In addition, applications for events will no longer need to be submitted at least 30 days in advance.

Applications for grants for events are submitted through the campaign’s website, and are open to any member of the Penn community.

“We welcome suggestions even at this early stage of the semester, from any individuals and groups,” Pyeritz said. “I certainly think that we’re looking for an increased level of participation and enthusiasm from the entire community.”

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