Center for Social Impact

Mission Statement

The Center for Social Impact develops pathways for students to become socially responsible leaders and citizens who are prepared to create positive change in the world.

About the Center

Students involved with the Center are encouraged to become active citizens by learning about and building the capacities of their local communities. As they find creative, effective ways to serve their campus, local and global communities, they also make valuable connections and develop professional skills and competencies.

The Center also operates the Federal Work Study program for students interested in positively impacting their communities while receiving financial support for their college endeavors.

For more information about Federal Work Study through the Center for Social Impact, email Eliel Acosta-Solalinde, Assistant Director of Student Engagement with leadership of the Center for Social Impact at [email protected].

Center Initiatives

The Center was launched in the fall of 2018 with a commitment to equitable education and access, sustainability, and voter education and engagement. The Center engages students in non-profit internships, community-based learning assignments, volunteer opportunities with community partners, and campus civic engagement events.

In the fall of 2019, the Center launched a community-based federal work study program (CBFWS) for students to earn their federal work study awards while working off-campus. Program participants can typically earn up to $3500 per academic year through placements with Penn State Brandywine’s community partners. Students have the opportunity to develop professional skills and experience while helping to build the capacity of local schools, non-profit organizations, and public service agencies.

The Center regularly runs campus-wide voter registration and education campaigns that include voter registration drives, non-partisan candidate guides, and Get out the Vote public service announcements featuring Penn State community members.

In Spring 2020, the Center launched the Presidential Mock Nominating Convention — a campus-wide, non-partisan, simulated presidential nominating convention and research project that involved hundreds of students, staff and faculty. This new tradition will occur every four years and is designed to provide students with leadership and social opportunities, create a fun new campus tradition, develop the civic capacity of students, and increase our campus visibility in our local communities.

The Center’s annual MLK Day of Service Celebrations bring together Penn State students and community members to focus on acts of kindness, inclusion and artistic expressions of Dr. King’s legacy. This community-wide effort involves student clubs and benefits local and national non-profit organizations.

In Fall 2020, the Center partnered with Student Affairs to launch the Campus Food Pantry, managed and operated by students, for students. Located at the Center on the 1st floor of Vairo Library, students in need can help themselves to food and personal care items.

In Spring 2022, the Campus Garden came under the Center’s umbrella. Open to all students, staff and faculty, the garden is a 50-feet-by-50-feet fenced-in area with more than 20 raised beds. Its mission is to expose students to gardening practices, address issues of food security, enable curriculum connections, create community connections, and develop campus food system connections. Students can intern and volunteer at the garden. To learn more, contact Garden Manager Emily Dozor at [email protected].

The Center hires student interns to fill a variety of roles, including Food Pantry Coordinators, Garden Coordinators, Communications Interns, and Program Support Interns. Interested students should email Eliel Acosta-Solalinde, Assistant Director of Student Engagement with leadership of the Center for Social Impact at [email protected].

Faculty, staff and students also use the Center to connect with Penn State Brandywine’s community partners. By working with these entities, students involved with the Center learn the importance of community and public service while gaining valuable educational experiences outside of the classroom.

Civic and Community Engagement

Many of the Brandywine students who volunteer with the center opt to pursue a minor in Civic and Community Engagement (CIVCM). The CIVCM minor uses a balanced program of fieldwork and classroom experience to help Brandywine students integrate community engagement into their academic and professional careers.

For more information about the CIVCM minor, contact program coordinator Lynn Hartle or visit the program’s official webpage.

Brandywine students can also engage with the Center through partnership with the Community Engagement Club, a student-run organization that plans volunteer opportunities throughout the year and encourages students to develop leadership and character through community service.

For more information about the Community Engagement Club, contact the organization’s student leaders.

Learn More and Connect;

To learn more about the Center for Social Impact, contact Eliel Acosta-Solalinde at [email protected], 610-892-1270 or visit