Guided by its Quaker heritage, Swarthmore College has since its inception declared a commitment to provide "academic excellence in the context of social responsibility," by helping "its students realize their fullest intellectual and personal potential combined with a deep sense of ethical and social concern." Swarthmore College students, faculty, and staff have long engaged issues of social responsibility, combined with a rigorous approach to intellectual inquiry. Students are encouraged to both study and actively work toward positive social change in the areas of social and political issues to which they are committed.
The Lang Center supports faculty, students, and staff with advice and guidance, space for meetings and events, transportation resources, as well as funding for projects, internships, and curricular design. The Lang Center encourages faculty, staff, and students to be involved with surrounding communities both locally and globally, for mutual benefit and reciprocally enriching relationships.
Signature programs of the Center include a rotating visiting professorship that brings to campus activists or academics committed to social justice, civil liberties, human rights, and democracy for a year of teaching and community interaction. A scholarship program and a specially designated fund support students who want to create long-term sustainable social action projects, and a summer internship program sends students out to learn by doing and observing. Staff and faculty as well as students are invited to volunteer and serve, and faculty are supported as they create and redesign courses to incorporate significant elements of community-based learning.
The College collaborates with community partners in these endeavors. A collaboration of particular note is the Chester Higher Education Council, in which Swarthmore College works with the five other colleges and universities in Delaware County to support educational needs, resulting recently in the creation of the collectively- supported College Access Center of Delaware County.
The heart of the approach to social responsibility at Swarthmore is the high energy and deep commitment that its students, faculty, and staff bring to it. The goal of the College and the Lang Center is to provide a learning environment that supports our college community members and the communities of which we are a part.