Penn Graduate Student Center

Volunteerism & Community Service

About Volunteerism & Community Service

Whether you are new to the area or lived in the area all of your life, Philadelphia is a place where you can call home. The Volunteerism and Community Service Program focuses on giving back to the local Philadelphia community, Penn community, and the larger global community through service. Volunteering helps grad students mentally, spiritually, and professionally in addition to making friends and having fun. Give back to your community by signing up for our events today.



Welcome to Campus, Everyone!

It's the start of a new year, and we at the Penn Graduate Student Center sincerely hope that you are settling in well and that you are getting excited for the semester! This year, the Grad Center has upped its commitment to our community by planning numerous events centered around community service, volunteerism and fundraising. We call it "Penn VOICE- Volunteering Out In the Community Everyday."

Penn VOICE Mission Statement

Penn VOICE will work to establish new relationships between our graduate students and the greater Philadelphia community through acts of volunteerism and mindful actions. With every act, we intend to be purposeful, thoughtful, selfless, patient and kind to those around us in the university, neighborhood and city.

We hope that you will join us in fulfilling our mission. Continue to visit our website and the Graduate Center Facebook page to stay up to date on all Penn VOICE opportunities.

We are happy to have your on our team.



Sex Talk

Thursday, March 15, 2018, 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Common Room Front (1st Fl), Grad Center, 3615 Locust Walk, Common Room Back (1st Fl), Grad Center, 3615 Locust Walk

"Sex Talk" is a Facebook show with a live in-studio audience that focuses on the questions that we never quite got answered during the sometimes awkward "birds and the bees" talk. "Sex Talk" aims to address questions that adults still have about sex- in a relaxed, non-judgmental and even humorous atmosphere. Our show is facilitated by panelists from organizations throughout the university, and these experts will field a number of pre-determined questions as well as student submitted questions. Questions will range from challenging myths and legends about sex, discussing consent and sharing the many different views that individuals have about sex.

Our aim is to normalize conversations around sex- a topic that is still often socially taboo, provide an educational space where questions that individuals have never had an opportunity to ask about get answers, provide information about all types of sex for people of all identities, discuss consent and how to go about obtaining it and share resources available to students here on campus. 

To serve our community, we will also be packing Campus Health Condom Bags for distribution to students around our campus to encourage safe, healthy sex habits. 





Volunteer Meetings

VUB Volunteer Corps Check-In Happy Hour
Show dates

VUB Volunteer Corps members are invited to come and enjoy some free food and drink while catching up with their fellow volunteers. Please RSVP for this event via the VUB Volunteer Corps Trello page or email Tara at 

VUB Volunteer Corps Open Office Hours
Show dates

VUB Volunteer Corps members are able to come meet with the VUB Volunteer Coordinator, Tara, to speak about any successes or frustrations about their experiences, or just to sit and talk! No appointment is needed. Just drop by!


Weekly Service Shout-Outs

Each week, GSC VOICE will post three service opportunities that you can get involved in on and around campus. These are events that you can attend alone or with friends so that you can really begin to participate in your new home and with those with whom you share it. Check it out!


“To sit back hoping that someday, some way, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last - but eat you he will.


-         President Ronald Reagan



President’s Day. It’s a weird, random holiday that seems only to be celebrated by… mattress sales? If you are a graduate student like me, you don’t have buying a new mattress penciled into your budget or your President’s Day weekend plans. So if you are searching for other ways to spend your free-time this weekend, check out these fun, unique community opportunities happening in our city. There’s something easy for everyone to get involved in!



Pack-A-Thon at Books Through Bars

Wednesday, February 21, 2018
4722 Baltimore Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19143

Books Through Bars is an amazing local organization that receives letters from incarcerated folks and fulfills their requests by sending them books about their interests from the Books Through Bars library. They get THOUSANDS of letters each year, and on Saturday, February 17th from 10:00 AM until 7:00 PM, they are holding an all-day pack-a-thon to catch up on a back-log of letters that they have received. No experience is needed. Books Through Bars staff will train you right on the spot! Can’t make it on Saturday? No problem- Books Through Bars has open volunteers hours on Tuesday evening from 7:30 PM until 9:30 PM and the 1st and 3rd  Saturday morning of every month from 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM. Grab a friend, head over to Books Through Bars on Baltimore Ave, and get packing! 



Take a Look at their Facebook event page:

Schuylkill Center Toad Detour Volunteer Training

Wednesday, February 21, 2018
8480 Hagy's Mill Road, Philadelphia, PA 19128

Even toads need some help. Join the Schuylkill Center for Environment Education in gathering a team of community members who will “protect the local toad population, shepherding thousands of toads safely across Port Royal Avenue as they travel to and from their breeding grounds at the Upper Roxborough Reservoir Preserve.” Attend the information and training session this Saturday, September 17 from 1:00 PM until 3:00 PM, and you will be certified to sign-up for toad saving shifts this spring. Crossing the road is dangerous for people, but for little toads, they need human help to survive. Volunteers will be instructed on erecting barricades and helping to divert traffic during busy toad crossing evenings. Once certified, you can volunteer for one shift or as many shifts as you would like! No prior experience needed.



Sunday Breakfast Mission Meal Volunteers

Wednesday, February 21, 2018
302 N 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Sunday Breakfast Mission is a homeless shelter for men, but it is also so much more. With a mission of “actively serving the less fortunate (homeless) and providing services that contribute to the vitality of the communities in the Tri-state area,” Sunday Breakfast mission gives its clients healthy meals, free haircuts, hygiene kits, clothing and other resources like employment, emotional, or spiritual counseling. On Sunday, February 18th, Sunday Breakfast Mission is looking for volunteers to help serve the first and most important meal of the day, breakfast. One-time volunteers are welcome, and no experience is needed!



Sign-Up to Volunteer Here:

Common Room Hours

Monday-Thursday: 9AM - 8PM
Friday: 9AM - 6PM
Saturday-Sunday: 12PM - 6PM

Graduate Student Center

3615 Locust Walk
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia PA 19104-6221