Carnegie Mellon named “Best Neighbor” to Pgh

Recently, Carnegie Mellon was ranked 19th in the presentation titled “Saviors of Our Cities: A Survey of Best College and University Civic Partnerships,” conducted by Evan S. Dobelle, president of Westfield State College. According to the official website, the 25 colleges and universities “were selected because of their positive impact on their urban communities, including both commercial and residential activities such as revitalization, cultural renewal, economics, and community service and development.”

Pennsylvania is home to four of the universities on the list of 25, more than any other state included in the rankings. University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, and Drexel University tied for first, tied for second, and placed 10th, respectively.

The survey noted the Summer Academy for Mathematics and Sciences (SAMS), and Dobelle praised this program for its engagement of prospective college students. Lindsey Pherribo, currently a first-year biology major, was a part of SAMS the summer before her senior year in high school. Pherribo enjoyed the variety of classes, saying that “the course options vary depending on which grade you’re in, but I took a biology class, calculus, SAT prep, and music engineering. I also had an English class where we worked on things to prepare us for applying to college such as college admissions essays.”
Both the SAMS program and the city left a positive impression on Pherribo, as she says that Pittsburgh was one of the reasons she decided to attend Carnegie Mellon upon her acceptance.

“SAMS was really helpful to me in helping me choose a college and getting through the college admissions process,” said Pherribo, adding that the program is “very organized” and “well run.”

Also mentioned in the survey was the Leonard Gelfand Center for Outreach and Service Learning, which deals with over 85 programs serving local students and teachers from kindergarten to 12th grade. Offered are opportunities in “professional development and certification, as well as children’s tutoring, mentoring and enrichment,” according to a Carnegie Mellon website about the Gelfand Center.

Over the past academic year alone, Carnegie Mellon students, faculty, and staff have donated over 88,000 hours of service to Pittsburgh. There are several options to serve through the Gelfand Center, including taking “service learning” courses which allow students “to complete coursework while assisting local non-profit organizations,” according to the website.

For an article on the Carnegie Mellon website, Judith Hallinen, assistant vice provost for educational outreach and director of the Gelfand Center, said that the programs can “encourage students from all disciplines to be more reflective on their responsibility to society with the talents that they have.”

“We want our students to consider what can you do that will change someone’s life, what is the thing that you can do that will make a difference?” Hallinen said.

Greek life on campus is also known to be a helping hand within the Pittsburgh community. Andrew Robb, a junior ethics, history, and public policy major, holds the title of community service chair for Delta Tau Delta fraternity. The brothers of this fraternity are no strangers to helping out and giving back to the community. The fraternity has had partnerships with Allegheny Youth Development, Adopt-a-School, and Habitat for Humanity. Regarding future organizations to partner up with, Robb says, “We are currently fielding ideas for what other organizations we would like to work with next semester.”

Robb also hinted at the anticipated future of the fraternity by saying that “DTD has expressed its goal of becoming a service-oriented fraternity” and that the members hope that their organization “will be firmly established as a leader in the Pittsburgh community service committee.”

Robb believes that volunteering should be a requirement for all college students. “There is a whole list of intangible life skills that one can learn through community service.”