COOL Conference at Penn

Posted by on November 7, 2003

COOL and Action Without Borders/ are excited to announce that the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) will host the 2004 COOL Idealist National Conference, to be held March 12-14, 2004. The COOL Idealist Conference is the largest gathering in the nation of college students, campus administrators, and nonprofit organizations engaged in making a positive impact through civic engagement. We expect to convene 2,000 students and participants this March, also marking the 20th annual event. With a dynamic focus on student leadership through service, activism, and politics and the intersections of student engagement with the broader nonprofit community and avenues for making a lifelong contribution to our world, this conference will surely not be one to miss.

The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) is a historic, Ivy League campus located in downtown Philadelphia. Home to a diverse undergraduate student body of nearly 10,000 that hail from every state in the union and all around the globe, Penn also offers top-ranking academic programs, consistently among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. With a history of innovation in interdisciplinary education and scholarship, Penn is also well known for the quality and innovation of its campus-community partnerships. The Center for Community Partnerships sponsors a diverse array of local initiatives focused on West Philadelphia, spanning everything from tutoring to neighborhood economic development. One program, the Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development (PHENND), involves more than forty institutions of higher education in the greater Philadelphia area in building the capacity of member institutions to develop mutually beneficial, sustained, and democratic community-based service learning partnerships. In addition, the Civic House focuses on student training and leadership development, promoting mutually beneficial collaborations between the university and the West Philadelphia community and beyond. Students and staff in these and other Penn programs will play key leadership roles in the conference, sharing their models with the nation.

This conference also will formally celebrate both COOL?s 20th convening and the inauguration of the Idealist on Campus program, a result of the recent merger between COOL and Idealist. Idealist on Campus connects, educates, and mobilizes students, campuses, and communities to build a world where people can live free and dignified lives, echoing COOL?s legacy and the mission of Action Without on the campus level. In addition to the national conference, this year?s offerings will include a plethora of resources for civic engagement and socially responsible careers (to be delivered online at Among those resources will be a comprehensive civic engagement curriculum, nonprofit career guides and resources, and interactive resources that support local coalitions of students, staff, and others to build cross-cutting Alliances for civic engagement and socially responsible careers.

As COOL celebrates its 20th conference, we will also celebrate the emerging role of Idealist as it expands its resources for college students and campus service and activism. In addition to the campus programs, Idealist offers an impressive array of resources including: a web-based community of more than 37,000 nonprofits and 150,000 individuals, sites Teachers and for Kids and Teens, and versions of Idealist in Spanish, French, and Russian. This year, Idealist was recognized by Time Magazine as the best web site for information on volunteering. Tapping into these expanded areas, the COOL Idealist Conference will enhance the Opportunities Fair, the range of workshops, and the focus on post-graduate opportunities for students.

In addition, with an aim for making this year?s conference one of the most fantastic, program offerings will include:

  • A mini-conference of COOL?s Learning the Lessons from Social Movements Summit built into the larger conference, featuring a day-long Friday Forum and dozens of workshops focusing on the civil rights movement, women’s movement, environmental movement, and other areas.
  • An expanded track for Campus Administrators, including a day-long Friday Forum and workshops on topics like building and running campus programs, fundraising, networking, utilizing Federal Work Study and more.
  • Expanded tracks of workshops including Globalization (in partnership with Oxfam America), Politics (sure to be expanded in light of the election year), and Careers.
  • More than 120 student- and participant-led workshops on topics ranging from activism, to community building, to service learning, and youth voice.

    Registration details and other information will soon follow. Save the Date for the 20th and best COOL Idealist National Conference.

    For more information, contact:
    Ariane Hoy
    Co-Director, Campus Programs
    (617) 695-2665 phone
    37 Temple Place, Suite 401
    Boston, MA 02111

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