Skip to main content

Lang Center Expands Funding for Summer Research, Work with Social Impact

Lunch for Lang Center grantees

The Lang Center was able to fulfill 60 percent of all summer opportunity requests—a 20 percent increase over last year. 

The Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility will provide financial and social support to 110 students engaged in socially impactful research, projects, or direct service work across the globe this summer. This includes the six sophomore recipients of the Eugene M. Lang Opportunity Scholarship and 91 students who will receive summer funding from the Lang Center.

Students may apply for summer funding for three types of opportunities through the Lang Center: internships, engaged research, and pilot projects.

  • Summer Social Impact Scholarships provide funding for unpaid internships with host organizations that “empower them to add dimension to their undergraduate course work while advancing the organization's mission, goals, and objectives.” Summer internship funding was offered to 72 of 113 applicants.

  • Faculty-Sponsored Engaged Research supports students, chosen by a faculty member, who will conduct engaged research in the service of the faculty member's engaged scholarship. Engaged research funding was awarded to 16 out of 31 applicants.

  • Pilot Project Grants help students who design or co-create a project with its own mission, goals, and objectives. Out of eight applicants, three were selected for pilot project funding.

Last year, the Lang Center saw a fourfold increase in the number of applications for summer funding. The increase, according to Executive Director Ben Berger, was because of a “conscious effort to increase outreach, access, and equity.” The spike in applications meant that the Lang Center was only able to award 40 percent of applicants with funding—a lower acceptance rate than in previous years.

Going into the 2017–18 academic year, the Lang Center wanted to be able to match increased student demand for funding with increased supply.

“Last fall, we estimated that we would be able to support at least 57 students in their full-time summer 2018 internships,” says Associate Director of the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility Jennifer Magee. “But given last year’s incredible demand, we knew we needed to be proactive.”

The Lang Center worked closely with College Advancement to secure more funding in support of “beyond the classroom” learning opportunities as part of the Changing Lives, Changing the World comprehensive campaign. Philanthropic support was also provided by the Swarthmore Black Alumni Network.

“The Lang Foundation will also fund eight additional full-time student opportunities in the short term,” adds Berger, “with hopes that other alumni will step in and provide greater funding for the long run.”

This additional support meant the Lang Center was able to fulfill 60 percent of all summer opportunity requests—a 20 percent increase over last year. While the Lang Center is enthusiastic about the student interest and the alumni response, they know there’s still work to be done.

“While we feel incredibly honored to support these many students in their efforts to address our most pressing social, civic, and ethical problems,” says Assistant Director of the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility Katie Price, “it is our hope that this number will continue to increase through the generosity of donors who make these crucial "beyond the classroom" learning opportunities possible.”


Learn about Swarthmore’s impact on the local and global community at

Submissions Welcome

The Communications Office invites all members of the Swarthmore community to share videos, photos, and story ideas for the College's website. Have you seen an alum in the news? Please let us know by writing