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"Education can, and should, be holistic. Engagement is indispensible to learning." Keith Donnelly, YFE 211 student, Fall 2008

Student volunteers at Healthy Start House Sept. 6, 2008 We live in an interconnected global society. At Penn State Greater Allegheny we have many opportunities to go beyond basic awareness of issues through active involvement in the community and through scholarly discussion, research, and reflection. Penn State's mission of teaching, research, and public service emphasizes engagement in the community as well as academics. Community engagement is part of the vision of Penn State Greater Allegheny, and is integrated into the curriculum and all other aspects of campus life.


Why community engagement?

  • Students put what they learn in the classroom into practice by working directly with local community organizations.
  • Service and research projects directly benefit local businesses and community groups.
  • Students and faculty are challenged to explore their subject matter in a broader context, and consider how it relates to the world outside the classroom.
  • Community engagement has been linked to improved academic outcomes for students, and to increased student interest and retention.
EDSGN 100 students work on an engineering projectSpotlight on: PHOTO 100, Introduction to Photography

When students take Professor Lori Hepner's Introduction to Photography course, they are introduced to the aesthetics, history, and science of photography, and explore photography as an art form as well as an important medium in commercial applications, science, industry, news and journalism. Through a series of hands-on projects, students practice a variety of digital photography techniques and styles. This interactive course provides excellent opportunities for community engagement. Each semester, photography students partner with local community organizations to complete a photojournalism project. Each student visits his or her chosen nonprofit multiple times to learn about the organization's mission and to take photographs. Final photo stories consist of a series of carefully chosen, edited and captioned images that tell a story about the partner organization. These photo stories are shared with our nonprofit partners, who are encouraged to use the images for their organizational needs.  

The above photograph was taken by Alexis Joseph, Fall 2009 PHOTO 100 student.

To see more photographs from the PHOTO 100 class, please visit our Fall 2009 PHOTO 100 Gallery.

"Civic engagement is continually being an active citizen in your community and contributing to its greater good."—Daniel Guy, YFE 211 student, Fall 2007

Students with a declared major and a minimum GPA of 2.0 can earn a minor in Civic and Community Engagement (CIVCM).  More information on the Civic and Community Engagement Minor and academic requirements can be found in the University Bulletin.

2008-2009 Photo Gallery

Find out about off-campus volunteer opportunities through Pittsburgh Cares.


For more information on community engagement projects at Penn State Greater Allegheny, contact Dr. Margaret Signorella, Director of Academic Affairs, at: msignorella@psu.edu or (412) 675-9052.

Community engagement project highlights from 2008-2009

Community Engagement Spotlight Archive