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Community Engagement

Swarthmore students attend the 2014 People's Climate March in NYC.

Swarthmore students attend the 2014 People's Climate March in New York City.

The Ruth Bennett Community Farm

Swarthmore Environmental Justice promotes on-campus awareness of environmental injustice and partners with other organizations to address instances of injustice in broader communities. Environmental Justice is currently collaborating with the Chester Housing Authority and residents of the Ruth L. Bennett Homes to operate a community garden and youth education program. The Chester Garden Project hopes to address the serious lack of access to fresh produce in the neighborhood by working with children to grow, harvest, and distribute fruits and vegetables to members of the community. For more information, check out the Ruth Bennett Community Farm website.

Serenity House Project

Serenity House is a local ministry of Arch Street United Methodist Church that serves community space on Lehigh Avenue in North Philadelphia. The neighborhood around the house is - in the words of local organizers- “plagued by poverty.” Serenity House aims to “interrupt the violence” that is prevalent there in the form of domestic abuse, homelessness, and economic marginalization. Serenity House works to bring about a just transition toward sustainable community through a community garden and regular gatherings, including women and men support groups, a book club, and Alternatives to Violence Project workshops. Since 2012, a small group of students and faculty have built a relationship with Serenity House by organizing garden workdays, a Mother’s Day Celebration, and the installation of a solar panel at Serenity House. There has been increasing involvement between the two communities as the partnership continues to develop and strengthen.

The Lang Center

The Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility hosts conferences, speakers, and workshops to educate the entire community about community service, social action, and social justice work. Their staff also works with individual students to help match them with volunteer opportunities, to mentor them as they write grant proposals, and to help them develop plans for making their mark on the world. They stand at the ready to support students who wish to engage in environmental social action projects while at the College.

The 2014-2015 Eugene M. Lang '38 Visiting Professorship for Issues of Social Change is Dr. Giovanna Di Chiro, Former Director of Environmental Programs at Nuestras Raíces, Inc. in Holyoke, Mass., and Research Associate at the Five Colleges Research Center in Amherst, Mass. She has published widely on the intersections of environmental science and policy, with a focus on social and economic disparities and human rights.

The Scott Arboretum

The mission of the Scott Arboretum is to delight and educate all visitors and inspire them to enjoy the many benefits of horticulture. The Scott Arboretum was formed in 1929 as a living memorial to Arthur Hoyt Scott (Swarthmore Class of 1895) and is free of charge to visitors. The arboretum is coterminous with Swarthmore College. Please contact Jennifer James, Scott Arboretum Education Intern ( or Melissa Tier, Swarthmore College Sustainability Coordinator ( for opportunities to develop joint environmental sustainability initiatives.