March 25, 2020
From flashy peacoats, leather boots and scarves, to Drexel pins and Villanova hoodies, more than 400 college students congregate in the city of Brotherly love for a night out.
The party kicks off with a makeshift dance floor, DJ, and colorful LED lights flashing as crowds gather to watch freestyle breakdancers moving to hip hop, dance, and synthesized beats.
The scene can easily be mistaken for a night club, but this party is taking place at the Barnes Foundation, and it’s a College Night organized and hosted by local nonprofit Campus Philly. Their goal is simple: encourage college students to explore the Philadelphia region, fall in love with the city, and eventually call it home.
Deborah Diamond is the president of Campus Philly, a nonprofit started by Philadelphia’s Commerce Department to stimulate the economic growth of Philadelphia and the tri-state area by empowering college students through access to career development, culture, and skill-building resources.
A Philly native, Diamond attended Bryn Mawr College as an undergrad and planned to pursue a career in academia upon graduation. After completing her Ph.D. in political philosophy at the University of Chicago and teaching at Columbia University, she returned home to teach at Bryn Mawr. She saw the economic need for Philadelphia to grow its population. Using her experience in academia, she knew what resources she wanted to bring to incoming college students.
Campus Philly works firsthand with students, creating strong communities, supporting and strengthening the arts, and empowering new generations of entrepreneurs and innovators.
In a recent study by Campus Philly, between 2000-2017 Philadelphia’s population grew by 4%, but the number of college graduates ages 25-34 grew by 115%, far outpacing the growth rate of most major U.S cities.
“Campus Philly is the first in the country to do this kind of work of engaging and retaining college students, “ says Diamond. “And now we get calls from cities across the country about what we built here and how they can replicate the model.”
The Uncommon Individual Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit leader in mentor-based learning, founded in 1986 by Dr. Richard E. Caruso. A successful entrepreneur, Caruso attributes his entrepreneurial success to the mentors he encountered throughout his life. UIF is his way of ‘mentoring it forward,’ to help individuals and organizations succeed through curated connections to mentors in Business, Education, Media, and Technology. For more information about UIF, visit: https://www.uif.org/. UIF recently launched a new media studio to help innovators navigate the media landscape. Visit: https://uifrecstudio.org/