Brandywine promotes civic and community engagement through academics

To honor and recognize the significant contributions David '74 H&HD and Marjorie Rosenberg have made to expand civic engagement efforts at Penn State Brandywine, the campus will designate one course each semester (fall and spring) as the Rosenberg Civic Engagement Course.

The course will go above and beyond a standard campus civic engagement offering and will be designed to challenge students to the highest levels, aligning with the Laboratory for Civic Engagement's mission of citizenship, scholarship and leadership.

"It is my hope that students will gain an appreciation and satisfaction for giving back and enhancing the lives of those less fortunate," David Rosenberg said. "In my situation, I have personally found that I gain a tremendous feeling of self-worth by giving back. My wife and I have made this lifestyle a priority in raising our family. If students have similar experiences, they too will change the lives of their families and suddenly these small ripples of change will alter the course of the world." 

A fundamental function of these courses is faculty helping students develop the knowledge, skills, values and motivation to become more responsible citizens. A civic engagement course fosters student citizenship, leadership and social justice through rigorous academics, service learning, internships and community-based learning experiences.

Students in the Rosenberg Course are encouraged to "take a stand" on policy issues, relate their coursework to real-world issues, conduct research in the community and educate the Brandywine and greater community through guest speakers and events.

Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies (ENVST 400W), which focuses on the interdisciplinary subject of Fair Trade, was selected as the inaugural Rosenberg Civic Engagement Course.

"Money alone should not be an indicator of success," Rosenberg added. "The youth today are 100 percent of our future, and the world today is too small not to be concerned about each other. If we can teach our youth to be more empathetic, creating a culture of caring for our fellow human beings, the world will be a far better place: a world of compassion, healing and understanding. I believe this has far-reaching consequences of changing lives and truly changing how we care for each other."

Associate Professor of Earth Sciences Laura Guertin, the instructor for ENVST 400W, is thrilled that hers has been chosen as the first Rosenberg Course. "The students certainly have earned this recognition," she said. "This course demands that students step up as leaders in moving forward the effort to establish Penn State Brandywine as a Fair Trade University. Students have been in conversations with staff, faculty and alumni, and have hosted speakers from Fair Trade Towns Media and Fair Trade Towns USA. The students have developed mission and vision statements for Fair Trade on campus, and they will be hosting two Fair Trade events later this semester."

Guertin encourages everyone to come out for the Fair Trade t-shirt exchange and a seminar by Divine Chocolate, the only Fair Trade chocolate company, which is 45 percent owned by farmers. The seminar, along with free samples of Fair Trade chocolate, will take place Monday, April 16, at 12:30 p.m. in the Tomezsko Classroom Building, room 103.

"The students refer to themselves as the Fair Trade Trailblazers, and I couldn't agree more," she added. "Not only are they challenging themselves as leaders and engaged citizens, but by being recognized as members of the first Rosenberg Course, they are setting the bar for future student learning and civic engagement on campus and in the local-to-global community."

For more information, please contact Laura Guertin at [email protected] or 610-892-1427. Visit for Fair Trade information or for more on civic and community engagement at Brandywine.