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September Council Meeting Coverage

October 5, 2010, Volume 57, No. 06

On September 29, at the first University Council meeting of the academic year, President Amy Gutmann announced the appointment of Dr. Reed Pyeritz, professor of medicine and genetics, as moderator of the Council, and Marjorie Hassen, director of public services at Van Pelt Library, as the new parliamentarian, a position that had been held for 19 years by Mark Frazier Lloyd.

Undergraduate Assembly President Matthew Amalfitano mentioned how successful the Year of Water community service event had been. Led by the Provost’s Office and Civic House, hundreds of students, along with Provost Vince Price and many Penn staff members, participated in the river rescue. During the course of the week-long project, which was in conjunction with United by Blue, Penn volunteers collected two tons of trash along the banks of the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers. 

Steering Chair Bob Hornik  listed the upcoming focus issues to be discussed at future Council meetings: October—a discussion of faith-based initiatives and groups on campus; December—a review of Penn’s current approach to “In Loco Parentis,” and of how the University works with students to resolve and avoid crisis whether on campus or abroad; February—a reexamination of Penn’s relationship with West Philadelphia; and March—a review of diversity pipeline initiatives throughout Penn.  He also mentioned that there will be an Open Forum in December and another in March.

The main topic for the recent meeting was the 2010-2011 Academic Theme Year, the Year of Water, an initiative launched by the Provost’s Office but embraced by many areas of the University. Vice Provost for Education Andrew Binns gave a presentation, along with David Fox, director of Academic Initiatives in College Houses and Academic Initiatives. Dr. Binns explained how the Theme Year grew out of the Penn Reading Project (PRP) in 2007 and then evolved the following year and is now in its fourth year. Mr. Fox explained how the Theme Year now has its own website, www.yearofwater.org, with the PRP included in it along with information about relevant courses, other events and the grants that are available.

The theme for the upcoming year was also discussed; the Year of Games, in 2011-2012, will coincide with the opening of Penn Park and the 2012 Summer Olympics. Provost Price said that there is an effort made to choose themes that tie in to what is done at Penn and what is happening in the world.

Related: Theme Year Grants for Year of Water: October 29; Academic Theme for 2011-2012—Games: Body and Mind

Almanac - October 5, 2010, Volume 57, No. 06