Skip to main content

Swarthmore Announces Philadelphia Program with Bryn Mawr, Haverford Colleges

Philadelphia skyline seen above trees in fall

The Philadelphia skyline as seen from the Clothier Bell Tower.

President Valerie Smith has joined with the presidents of Haverford and Bryn Mawr colleges to pilot a collaborative program based in Philadelphia.

Known as the Tri-Co Philly Program, the nonresidential pilot program—set for spring 2019, fall 2019, and potentially spring 2020—will feature courses taught by faculty from all three colleges at the Friends Center at 15th and Cherry streets in Center City.

“The Tri-Co Philly Program will deepen engagement between students and faculty at Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr, and Haverford and the city of Philadelphia,” says Tri-Co Philly Program Planning Director Calista Cleary. “This academic program offered in an urban environment will present students with the opportunity to better understand the diversity of the world we inhabit, to directly observe the links between scholarship and lived experience, and to appreciate cities as vital sites of innovation, creativity, and complexity.”

Each semester, students will enroll in urban-themed courses from a variety of academic disciplines. The city setting aims to provide a sense of place to enhance the classroom experience, helping students learn firsthand how the material in the courses is informed by the environment around them. Speakers and representatives from organizations will be invited guests in the classes, and students will explore the city through neighborhood tours, trips to museums, and work with various groups.

"I have ensured that Swarthmore's values of working with organizations rather than on them and then exiting are central to the mission of this program," said President Smith in a message to the community.

In spring 2019, students will take a core course, Philadelphia: Inventing a City, and choose one of the following additional courses: Narrativity and Hip Hop or The Politics of the Creative Class in American Cities.

The Tri-Co Philly Program will include participation in several monthly Philadelphia-based activities—some academic in nature, some connected to social-justice issues, and some simply fun—as well as the chance to attend talks and engage with volunteer opportunities. It will also include an orientation, a mid-semester gathering, and a closing dinner.

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors are eligible to participate. Expenses related to travel for classes and for co-curricular and extracurricular programming will be covered for students who are accepted into the program.

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