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About the CoLab

co lab at the lang center swarthmore
The place for community-led collaborative action on campus

The CoLab at the Lang Center (CoLab) is a community-led collaborative action space within the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.  The mission of the CoLab is to foster community-led collaborative action with Swarthmore College’s local and global community partners. We value ethical engagement, campus-community reciprocity, social impact and innovation, and shared responsibility. The CoLab acts as a home for the growing number of Engaged Scholarship and action-orientated programs within Swarthmore College, including the Social Innovation Lab. The CoLab aims to:

  • Provide development space for our community members; students, faculty and staff, to design, plan and implement collaborative projects,
  • Provide a range of short- and longer-term education and skills-building programs/modules,
  • Cultivate conversation, share experiences, and reflect on the work of Engaged Scholarship and collaborative action in our communities.

CoLab Workshops

The CoLab offers a range of workshops, longer modules, and toolkits/frameworks to help students, faculty, and staff implement their projects:

a) Impact Gaps Analysis,

b) Project Management

c) Stakeholder Mapping 

d) Design Thinking for Social Change 

e) Social Business Model Canvas

Systems Thinking for Social Change: Every February, the CoLab runs a 4-week module on Systems Thinking for Social Change, offering an opportunity for participants to learn how to analyze and map systems. These workshops and modules are primarily designed for students. Click here for a sample of a systems map produced at the end of the module, and a story on the College's website about Oxford's Map the System competition Swarthmore students participated in.

Please reach out to Nimesh Ghimire (nghimir1) if you are a Swarthmore faculty, staff, or community partner interested in any of these workshops. 

Reserve Space at the CoLab

Members of the Swarthmore community are now welcome to reserve the CoLab space for collaborative work. The CoLab is equipped with: Movable and stationary white boards, Projector with Solstice capability, Prototyping station and materials cart, Nearby kitchen with water, tea, and coffee. The space consists of the Porch, the Barn, and the Kitchen.

Reservations can be made directly through Google Calendar by those with Swarthmore credentials. Type “CoLab - Porch” or “Co-Lab - Barn” on the “meet with” tab on the GCal page; you should get automatic confirmation of the reservation. Please reach out to Lang Center ( if you encounter any issues. 

The Co-Lab Kitchen space is first-come, first-served. 

CoLab-Funded, Community-Designed Projects

Connecting community ideas with student capabilities  

The CoLab at the Lang Center funds students to complete 10- or 20-hour remote projects designed by community-based organizations, activists, and/or projects for social change. This program seeks to center community voices and put college resources to use in ways that are mutually beneficial to students and community partners. Community partners benefit from completed projects that might otherwise not be possible and students benefit from the opportunity to apply their academic learning to real-world projects aimed at social good.

To be eligible for funding, students must be (1) a currently enrolled Swarthmore College undergraduate or have graduated from Swarthmore College within the last three months; and (2) in good standing at Swarthmore College. If you are an international student (on an F1 or J1 visa) considering opportunities to work off campus (in either a paid or unpaid position), please contact Jennifer Marks-Gold or Ryan MacMorris before you accept any positions to ensure you maintain your legal status.

Please note that Community-Designed Projects are not in service of Swarthmore College and do not create an employment relationship between the student(s) and the College.

Students can sign into Parker Dewey to view and apply to currently available projects.

Community partners can propose a community-designed project via Parker Dewey. 

Virtual Reality (VR)/360 Immersive Experience 

We are excited to continue our pilot of  VR/360 Immersion experience through the CoLab. Our goal is to see how VR/360 immersion can be used as a helpful tool to provide a more immersive experience for students to better understand (and subsequently engage in) different facets of pressing social issues. 

We invite you to come by Lang Center’s CoLab and experience—through the Oculus Quest 2 headset—any of the VR/360 immersion videos from this list curated by the Lang Center. You can book a 30 minute slot here.

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