Penn State’s Public Square: Connecting Community and Discovery
Penn State launched its Engaged Scholarship initiative to mobilize the university’s incredible research capacity to address the nation’s social, cultural, and economic issues. mStoner’s challenge was to develop an Engaged Scholarship website that allowed researchers to communicate with each other more easily, while engaging and informing the larger community.
Unlike our typical client projects, the Engaged Scholarship site began with a blank slate. Penn State had ambitious goals, and we worked side by side to make them come together.
We developed a site that allows researchers to create profiles of their projects and tag them by topic, location, and status. The structure also includes prominent calls-to-action to engage the general public (“Get Involved,” “Volunteer,” “Take a Survey,” “Come to a Meeting,” etc.) and social media tools that encourage the public to comment. The homepage showcases the most active projects, allowing visitors to jump immediately into the liveliest discussions. We called the site “Public Square” to emphasizes the role those outside the university would have in shaping and using the website.
Penn State Outreach
- Penn State Outreach operates more than 2,000 programs, serving more than 5 million people every year.
- More than 1,500 Penn State faculty are involved in Outreach activities each year.
- One in every two households in Pennsylvania has a member participating in a Penn State program.
- Showcase the depth and breadth of Penn State research.
- Enable inter-campus collaboration on projects among researchers.
- Engage students and the public in the research practice.
- Demonstrate the positive impact of Penn State’s work to legislators and civic leaders.