Franco Harris Pittsburgh Center at Penn State

The Franco Harris Pittsburgh Center at Penn State works to support sustainable neighborhoods and communities throughout the Pittsburgh region. Located in Pittsburgh’s historic Hill District, at the LEED Platinum certified Energy Innovation Center, we create programs and catalyze collaborations that utilize Penn State’s extensive resources to help local communities grow and prosper in healthy and equitable ways.

Our Mission

The Franco Harris Pittsburgh Center creates opportunities for mutually beneficial campus-to-community connections involving faculty and students, Pittsburgh Public High School students, community based-organizations, and many other local stakeholders. By providing a bridge between the Pittsburgh region and Penn State’s extensive resources, we work to address local needs and support sustainable neighborhoods and communities where we work.


In the past 18 months, the Center hosted more than 200 Penn State students participating in internships, research projects, workshops, seminars, or field trips to Pittsburgh. In 2018, 36 Pittsburgh-area high school students received support through the Community Innovation in Training for Youth (CITY) program, finding their pathway to success through STEAM–related, out-of-classroom learning experiences, mentoring, and community-based service-learning projects. Through a partnership with the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority, the Center is also the regional provider of the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program, certifying dozens of design professionals and construction and maintenance contractors annually.

Student Engagement

The Center offers a variety of engaged scholarship opportunities to help students gain valuable experience and knowledge through service projects, internships, and immersive learning. The Center offers a range of internship opportunities for Penn State students throughout the year and also collaborates with faculty advisers and internship coordinators to secure placements with local community partners.

The CITY Semester program is an educational experience for Penn State students during their junior or senior year. The program is modeled after study abroad programs, except students live, learn, and intern in the Pittsburgh region for a semester. Students accepted into the program will take a face-to-face course in urban sustainability and online courses to fulfill their major requirements. View opportunities.

The Franco Harris Pittsburgh Center at Penn State is the nexus between the University and the Pittsburgh region. We offer unique opportunities for collaboration with Penn State faculty, staff, and programs through research, engaged scholarship, community engagement, and educational opportunities that make a difference for all.

—Tom Bartnik, Director

Visit the Franco Harris Pittsburgh Center at Penn State