Student Engagement

Students stand in front of a bridge in Pittsburgh

The Franco Harris Pittsburgh Center at Penn State offers students a variety of engaged scholarship and community engagement opportunities. We work with faculty and staff from Penn State colleges, institutes and Commonwealth campuses to direct students to promising capstone projects, volunteer opportunities, and engagement related to their independent study or current course work.

The Center’s long-standing relationships with community partners and collaborators enable us to connect faculty and students with projects that have meaningful impact on a local level. Working with Penn State faculty and students, we help to address community challenges in a transformative way, all the while encouraging collaboration across multiple community sectors and Penn State academic units.

Student Engagement in Action — Gaining Firsthand Knowledge of Sustainable Architecture

Penn State New Kensington senior instructor Joan Kowalski brings her sustainability class to the Franco Harris Pittsburgh Center each spring. Staff members give students a presentation and tour of the Energy Innovation Center, focusing on the development process that resulted in the historic building’s LEED Platinum certification. The tour includes a behind-the-scenes look at the state-of-the-art mechanical room that includes high-efficiency condensing boilers, a gas-fired combined heat and power microturbine, and an ice storage system used to augment the building’s cooling load, and finishes with a discussion of the design choices and the impact of green infrastructure on site.