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Credit: Audrey Tirtaguna

At the University Council meeting Wednesday, administrators talked of their global engagement initiatives and the progress of the ongoing Power of Penn campaign, which is the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the University’s history.

The campaign spans from 2013 to 2021, with 2013-2018 serving as a “quiet phase,” in which fundraisers reach out to major donors, and 2018-2021 as the “public phase.” The Power of Penn aims to raise $4.1 billion by 2021, Vice President of Alumni Relations John Zeller said. 

Penn President Amy Gutmann said the fundraising campaign helps Penn expand global opportunities, including making programs more accessible for students from first-generation, low-income backgrounds.

“Any global seminar has to be able to be open to our low-income and first-generation students and not saddle them with costs,” Gutmann said. “We want to expand what we can do by way of international experiences for our low-income, first-generation students.”

Credit: Audrey Tirtaguna

Vice Provost for Global Initiatives Ezekiel Emanuel also discussed increasing Penn students’ global opportunities, such as diversifying Penn Global Seminars and the Penn Global internship programs.  

Emanuel said it is critical that Penn brings global scholars to the University and continues to focus on the success of international students. He said that Penn aims to increase the financial aid budget for international students with its fundraising efforts. 

In recent years, Penn has amped up its efforts to engage globally in various ways. In February 2018, the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement had its official launch. Earlier in March 2015, the Penn Wharton China Center officially opened in Beijing. 

Almost exactly a year after former Vice President Joe Biden was named a Penn professor, the Washington, D.C.-based Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement will celebrate its official inauguration on Feb. 8. 

At the meeting with Gutmann, Provost Wendell Pritchett, and other administrators were student representatives of various student groups, including UMOJA, Penn First, and the Lambda Alliance. Members of the UC were also at the meeting.

At the meeting, UC members had the opportunity to ask questions, but those unrelated to topics raised by administrators at the meeting were not addressed. Students expressed concerns about the spreading of mold in college houses, and administrators said they would discuss the issue at their upcoming steering meeting.

Gutmann also mentioned the importance of the new “Penn First Plus” office, announced last May, which is aimed at making resources more accessible to FGLI students. 

“A part of Penn First Plus is to have summer experiences, research experiences, all of those, make it easy, financially, for Penn First Plus, and also, by way of mentorship,” she said. 

The next UC meeting will be an open forum on Dec. 5, during which members of the Penn Community can raise issues for the Council to discuss. All members of the Penn Community are welcome to attend the meeting, though those who would like an assured opportunity to speak should email the office of the University Secretary by 5 p.m. on Nov. 26.

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