Philadelphia, November 10, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced the winner of the second Philadelphia Public Policy Case Competition, an opportunity for students to offer creative proposals responding to the question: What can the City of Philadelphia do to prevent the greatest number of students from dropping out of high school? Elizabeth Farwell and Alounso Gilzene from The University of Pennsylvania were the winning team, selected by a panel of judges with representatives from the public and non-profit sectors. Their winning submission, “Peer Mentor Academic Academy” recommended internal high school mentorship between upper classmen and freshmen.
“Thank you to all of the students who submitted innovative and creative solutions to the important challenge of reducing the high school dropout rate in our city,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “This competition is a way for young people to participate and truly engage in the civic process and present ideas that can be implemented to help solve the very complicated and long-standing problem of low academic success in Philadelphia. I would like to congratulate Elizabeth and Alounso for their winning presentation, and I look forward to meeting them to discuss their proposal.”
The first place team will receive a meeting with Mayor Nutter to present their proposal and tickets to the Mayor’s Box for a Philadelphia 76ers game.
The judging panel included Dr. William Hite, Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia; Dr. Elliot Weinbaum, Senior Program Director for Closing the Achievement Gap at the William Penn Foundation; Simran Sidhu, Executive Director of YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School; Dr. Lori Shorr, Chief Education Officer in the Mayor’s Office; Dr. Deborah Diamond, President of Campus Philly; and Jamal Johnson, a 2014 graduate of YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School and current student at Pierce College.
The City received a total of eleven submissions representing seven different regional colleges and universities. Students submitted proposals from the following schools: Drexel University, Philadelphia University, Princeton University, Rutgers University, Saint Joseph’s University, Temple University and The University of Pennsylvania.
The case competition was managed by the Mayor’s Office of Policy Planning and Coordination and the Mayor’s Office of Education and was co-sponsored by Campus Philly, The University of Pennsylvania’s Office of Government & Community Affairs, and The Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania. The sponsors were not involved in the selection process for the four finalists.
“The Public Policy Case Competition is a tremendous opportunity to engage Philadelphia’s students in the civic life of their city,” said Dr. Deborah Diamond, President of Campus Philly. “Campus Philly is delighted to be a partner in this project, which highlights the creative ideas of our area’s students to improve the quality of life for Philadelphia’s residents.”
David Thornburgh, Executive Director of the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania, said, “The Fels Institute of Government was proud to co-sponsor the Public Policy Case Competition, which worked to inspire students to think creatively about how local governments can create and analyze solutions to large-scale challenges.”
Jeffrey Cooper, Vice President of the Office of Government & Community Affairs at the University of Pennsylvania, stated “Our office was happy to work with the City of Philadelphia and co-sponsor this competition, which gave local students the opportunity to engage directly with their government and have their ideas heard by community leaders.”
About the Mayor’s Office of Policy Planning and Coordination
The Mayor’s Office of Policy Planning and Coordination develops and implements the Mayor’s policy initiatives in coordination with other senior members of the Nutter Administration.
About Campus Philly
Campus Philly is a nonprofit organization that fuels economic growth by encouraging college students to study, explore, live and work in the Greater Philadelphia tri-state region.
About the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania
Founded in 1937, the Fels Institute of Government is the University of Pennsylvania’s graduate program in public policy and public administration.
About the Office of Government & Community Affairs at the University of Pennsylvania
The Office of Government & Community Affairs advances Penn’s mission by managing relationships with government and community leaders, advocating for policies and legislation consistent with the University’s goals, and shaping local engagement initiatives.