Monthly Archives: April 2011

What’s Your Favorite Thing About Alumni Weekend?

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My Top Penn List: Largest Alumni Clubs

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

Anyone who has spent any time in Philadelphia should be familiar with “Move Closer to Your World,” the television news music jingle made famous by its use on Action News on Channel 6, ABC’s affiliate WPVI-TV. Since Action News has been the highest-rated station in Philadelphia for four decades, the theme has become a large part of the Philadelphia consciousness especially the first four lines.

“Move closer to your world, my friend
Take a little bit of time
Move closer to your world, my friend
And you’ll see…”

Taking the advice from the song, for my Top Penn List, I wanted to share with you the 10 largest Penn Alumni Communities with clubs, so you can engage closer with your Penn world wherever you are.

10     First, we travel outside of the States, to our largest international club, The Penn Club of United Kingdom, London, UK

9              Penn Alumni Club of Washington D.C., Washington DC.

8              Penn Gold Coast Alumni Club Website, serving Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beaches, FL

7              Miami Alumni Club, Miami, FL

6              Penn Club of Boston, Boston, MA

5              Penn Club of Northern California Club, San Francisco, CA

4              University of Pennsylvania Alumni Association for Southern California (aka PennClubLA) serving Los Angeles and Orange County, CA

3              Penn Alumni Club of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

2              Metro New Jersey Alumni Club, Northern New Jersey

1              PennNYC, New York City, NY (in addition, Penn Club of Westchester and Rockland Website, University of Pennsylvania Club of Long Island Website and Penn Club of Fairfield County service the needs of Penn alumni in the NY/CT metropolitan area).

For those who would like to reminisce about their Philadelphia days, enjoy the classic Action News theme song also with images circa 1995.

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Filed under Casey R., Clubs, GAN, Penn Clubs, Top Ten

Hey Day and the Final Toast: April 2011

Author: Lex Ruby Howe, C’07, GED’13

Penn students celebrated the 95th annual Hey Day yesterday, with the Class of 2012 advancing to “senior” status as the senior Class of 2011 were welcomed into the Penn Alumni community at the third annual Final Toast.

The Class of 2012 Processes Down Locust Walk

The Final Toast featured a beer-garden, food from Penn’s famous food trucks – Magic Carpet, Sugar Philly, and Guapo Taco by Jose Garces – as well as the Mask & Wig Band, the Bloomers Band, and DJ Rico.

Juniors and Seniors Converge

A special appearance by President Amy Gutmann made the event truly remarkable. Gutmann joined the Mask & Wig band on stage for a brilliant rendition of “Son of a Preacher Man.”

Final Toasters with Dr. Gutmann

Many on campus are calling this one of the cleanest and safest Hey Days they’ve seen in years – the tradition of celebration is coming back!

The Tradition Continues

You can view the latest photos from Hey Day here. Enjoy!

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Filed under Alumni Programming, Campus Fashion, Campus Life, Events, Lex. H., Student Perspective, Traditions

Practice Rooms

Author: Bart Miltenberger, C’97

Many moons ago (1993-1997), when I was an undergrad here at Penn, I played trumpet in the jazz ensemble as well as in a few other extracurricular bands. I wasn’t all that serious about playing music back then – I did it just for fun. Because of my novice status though,  I often wished I had a place to practice. But back then, Penn didn’t have a lot of space for practice. Oh, yes, there was a music building, and there were three practice rooms in its basement, but those rooms were beyond creepy (roaches, cobwebs, sewage pipes) and acoustically disastrous. Sometimes, I resorted to finding a boiler room in a dorm to get in my trumpet-practicing done. Needless to say, I didn’t get around to it all that much, and hence, I didn’t really improve.

Now, things are much different on campus. There are actual undergraduate music majors (in my time, most of the music majors focused on composition versus a particular instrument), and many of them are playing way above the level I ever achieved as a student. And perhaps most importantly, since the Music Building has been renovated (!), there are multiple places for students to get in the hours of practiced needed to reach that higher level of skill.

There are now five practice rooms with regularly-tuned Yamaha upright pianos. This is one my favorite one of those to play in:

Practice room on the second floor of the newly-renovated Music Building

This room was a gift made in part by my old boss, former Alumni Relations AVP, Bob Alig. The room itself was dedicated in honor of Paul Williams, the former president of Penn Alumni. Thanks for the nice room guys!

Here’s a look inside the room:

Here’s a look inside – nice piano!

If the rooms at the Music Building are in use, two more practice rooms are available on the fourth floor of the renovated Fisher-Bennett Hall. And, if you’re really lucky, the Rose Recital Hall (also located on the fourth floor of Fisher-Bennett) will be available and you can practice your trumpet in a fabulous, large, and acoustically-pleasant room. If it’s unlocked, there is a wonderful Steinway grand piano in the Recital Hall.

If that room is taken up by classes, there is always the option of the ten practice rooms in the basement of Irvine Auditorium. Still another option is signing out a practice room at Platt Performing Arts House. The rooms there are multipurpose. You might be practicing in a room that was just used for a dance lesson or an Indian music ensemble.

Again, all of these practice spaces at Penn are relatively new. The University has certainly made a commitment to the arts at Penn. This is great for the whole Penn community.

Now. There’s a trumpet waiting to be practiced. I recommend starting with long tones:

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Winning

Author: Dan Bernick, SAS ’14

I lost.  I ran for Vice President of the Undergraduate Assembly and lost. My team developed a platform, mobilized an army of supporters, and sent thousands of emails.  I spoke with hundreds of students and learned a ton about Penn.  But still, I lost.

I had poured my heart into the campaign.  The following week was tough, and I began to question my involvement with student government.

Fortunately, I cheered up enough to go out and support my favorite team (Penn!).  While I shouted myself hoarse for our women’s lacrosse team, someone sat down next to me.  It was Penn President Amy Gutmann, cheering twice as loud as any of us.  I soaked it all in: looking out I saw my team, fighting tooth and nail for the ball; looking left I saw my friends, covered head to toe in Red and Blue; looking right I saw my President, putting us to shame with her enthusiasm; and looking up I saw the clear sky, perfect weather for an amazing night.

That’s when it hit me: Only at Penn can you lose and still be a winner.  Not two weeks after the election, I was watching a lacrosse game with our extraordinary President, rooting for the Quakers and chatting about plans for next year.  Penn is where I want to be, what I want to do, and why I want to do it.

At the Lacrosse Game with President Amy Gutmann

I cannot wait for the fall!

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To Penn in Ten (Pictures)

Author: Jason Strohl

It’s beautiful out, so I decided to walk to work. I live in the Grad Hospital area of Philadelphia, up against Washington avenue, just shy of being in South Philly proper. It takes me about 25 minutes to walk to Penn and since there is a lot to see on my way, I thought I would share it with you.

This is the view from my front steps. You can see Liberty One and the Comcast Center in the background. Someday I am going to put a roofdeck on my house so I can see the skyline even better. It's really pretty at night.

Here we have the beautiful Anderson Yards little league baseball field, home of the Monarchs! Someone recetly told me that it is considered the nicest little league field in all of Philadelphia, and it is mere steps from my house! On my way home I like to stop for a few minutes sometimes and take in a game.

This is the corner of 18th and South Streets. Penn Medicine at Rittenhouse is located here.

This is the corner of 18th and Pine Streets, facing east. I took this picture to highlight the relatively new bike lane that was installed here. It stretches all the way from West Philadelphia to Front Street! For a cyclist like me this was a welcome addition to Philadelphia's streets.

The Southeast entrance to Rittenhouse Square. I love walking through here in the mornings because it gives me a taste of nature that I don't really have around where I live. Rittenhouse Square is also one of the best mid-day people watching spots during the warmer months.

This is a statue located in a fountain in Rittenhouse Square. Someone decided to decorate it festively for Easter. Personally I think it's an improvement, but I don't know much about art.

This was taken while I was crossing the Walnut Street bridge. Below you can see the jogging path sandwiched between the train tracks and the Schuykill river. The small building is a public bathroom that the city installed last summer. They are working hard to making the riverside a nicer place, and it really shows!

Again, this is from the Walnut Street bridge, but looking down on the contruction taking place on Penn Park, which is slated to open this summer. In the foreground you can see one of three footbridges that will take people down into the park. I'm very excited for a new green space so close by!

34th and Walnut Streets. Almost there!!

Finally we have the Sweeten Alumni House, where all of us in Alumni Relations work. I made it in under 25 minutes!

This was fun. I hope you all enjoyed traveling with me and I will see you next time!

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New Eats on Penn’s Campus

Author: Stephanie Yee, C’08

May is quickly approaching, which means Alumni Weekend is right around the corner! Young alumni are always asking me why they should come back to campus for Alumni Weekend. They still keep in touch with classmates because they only recently graduated, and they most likely just came to campus during Homecoming last fall. First, I tell them about all the great events planned for Alumni Weekend, starting with the 3 P’s: parade, picnic, and parties! Then, I gush about the new restaurants and food trucks they have to try. Here are some of my new favorite food places at Penn:

Tyson Bee's Food Truck

Come back to Penn for Alumni Weekend and let us know what your favorite eats are!

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Alumn-iPad

Author: Leigh Ann P.

 
Those of us who have worked at the registration tables at Homecoming and Alumni Weekend in the past have become all-too familiar with the archaic sounds of – what I call – the credit card stamper thingie.
 
*SQUEEEEEAK*CRUNCH!…. *SQUEEEEEAK*CRUNCH!
 
This is a device you may have seen in the early ’90s at your elementary school’s annual crawfish festival fundraiser; it’s a prehistoric adventure of capturing credit card information.  It leads to bottlenecking and sadness.
 

You can also pay us using clams or other shells.

 
If you’re like me, you may associate this level of technology with something my generation calls the Zack Morris phone.
 

Kelly? Meet me at the Max after school!

 
But not anymore!  The Penn Alumni Weekend registration team has stepped into the twentieth twenty-first century and we will be using iPads to process payments at Alumni Weekend next month.
 
My husband and I purchased iPads last week (thank you, anticipated tax refund!).  So far it has been money extremely well-spent.  They have drastically changed our technological lives as we know them.  I mean, look at how many tomatoes I’m growing in my Smurf Village.
 

La, La, la-la-la-laaaa, Laaaa-la-la-la-laaaaa

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Fling Has Flung!

Author: Molly Sloss, SAS’14

That’s right, this past weekend was Penn’s most famous celebration—Spring Fling. The entire student body crowded the quad for fried Oreos and student performances. We flocked to Franklin Field to party with Fiasco and Flo Rida and on Sunday morning shared in the mournful act of putting our neon back in the closet.

Photo credit: The Daily Pennsylvanian

As a freshman, my first fling was certainly memorable. I got to wear my neon purple leggings without judgment for the first time. I took the weekend off from homework. But the most important thing about fling was that I was doing it with 10,000 other undergrads. This was the first time I’d seen Penn’s student body come together as a whole. The energy was inescapable.

There was a moment at the concert when I had to take my eyes off of Lupe Fiasco, and turn around. I looked behind me and saw 3 sections full of students, screaming an a capella version of “Superstar,” all waving their arms at the same time. All of us. Together. Of all the things we could be doing together, jammin’ to lupe fiasco isn’t the most impressive. But at that moment, I didn’t feel like a freshman, or an Urban Studies major, or a student in the College. I was just a Penn student, on equal ground with everyone else, partaking in possibly the most quintessential Quaker experience ever. And it felt fling-tastic.

Check out the fling-stivities video and slideshow to see for yourself!

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Filed under Campus Fashion, Campus Life, Events, Moly S., Student Perspective

Penn Alumni Explore the World

Author: Kiera R., C’93

As the Director of Penn Alumni Travel, I have been fortunate to see much of the world, traveling with fellow Penn Alumni and friends on Penn Alumni Travel programs. While the sites we see are often iconic, sometimes, it’s the stolen moments of unexpected serendipity that stay in your memory and make each trip special.

In the summer of 2005, we were on the Historic Countries of the Baltic cruise. The itinerary included stops in Gdansk, Poland, several former Soviet republics – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as well as St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Copenhagen and Stockholm. It was a wonderful trip – a small ship with 100 passengers from various institutions around the U.S., including Penn. Everyone seemed to get along well, no matter your alma mater. I still remember climbing to the top deck late one night (with the infamous white nights of summer, dusk started around 11 p.m.) to find a few of the Penn travelers sharing Cuban cigars with alumni from LSU.

St. Petersburg

I had never been to Russia before, so arriving in St. Petersburg was fascinating. It was hot, and humid, and the city just shimmered. Since our ship was small, we were able to dock relatively close to the central part of the city. As we took a bus to tour the major sites, there were young brides and grooms everywhere, taking photos against the city’s landmarks.

Bride and Groom

Everyone seemed to smile when we saw another pair of newlyweds.

The Happy Couple

We toured the Peter and Paul Fortress, visiting the tombs of the czar and his family. We had an early morning tour of the Hermitage– the architectural details of the building itself were amazing, not to mention the vast art collection.

The Hermitage

We traveled outside the city, visting Petrodvorets, (Peterhof Palace), which lived up to its reputation as being the “Russian Versailles”, and Catherine’s palace, Tsarskoe Selo,, walking through the recently restored Amber Room (no photos allowed). En route, it was fascinating to see the Soviet architecture – such beautiful palaces and museums from long ago contrasted with the blocky modern buildings of the former USSR.

Peterhof

Catherine Palace

All these sites were amazing to see, but it was something I experienced not on the itinerary that remains lodged in my memory. The cruise director on our ship had lived in Russia for several years, and she shared tips about St. Petersburg with the passengers – where to have lunch, what to do if encountering gypsies, and suggestions for places to visit, including a Russian Orthodox church service. Intrigued, I decided to visit the church not far from where our ship docked. Christel Pailet, Director of UCLA’s travel program, decided to join me.  The cruise director informed us that orthodox services go on for hours, so she said we could stop in, stay as long as we liked and leave on our own timeline. She also recommended that we cover our heads and shoulders. We brought along a shawl and set out – about a 10 minute walk from our ship.

This is the church where Christel and I attended a service as seen from our ship

From the outside, Russian Orthodox churches are beautiful and massive. Inside, this church seemed small and intimate. It was dark, with only minimal light streaming through small windows.  There were maybe 15-20 people inside. There were no pews so everyone stood. There was chanting coming from above, from monks or priests we couldn’t see. It seemed like the chants were coming from the heavens. Every once in a while, the worshippers would bend over and touch the floor with their hands. Christel and I stood in wonder, watching, listening, not understanding anything being said or chanted but transfixed by the spirituality of the service.

Then, we noticed what we assumed to be a priest. He was standing slightly off center on the ground level. He was speaking in hushed tones with a woman who was clearly upset. Tears were streaming down her face. He seemed to be comforting her, or maybe it was a confessional, we could only guess. Then, he would stop speaking to her, say some words aloud for the service, and resume speaking with her. After about twenty minutes we left, fascinated by what we had witnessed. We wondered why this woman was so upset and what the priest was telling her for comfort. Other worshippers came and went while we stood and watched. When I saw Christel recently, she said it was one of her most memorable travel experiences. I couldn’t agree more.

This year, Penn Alumni Travel is visiting the Baltics again. I look forward to visiting these countries as I join the Penn travelers on the May 31 departure. Two famous historical figures will come aboard the ship for lectures – Lech Walesa and Mikhail Gorbachev. Plans are underway to repeat this trip next year, and as these departures sold out very quickly, you should make your reservations early!

Kiera Reilly, C’93, Director, Penn Alumni Travel, in front of St. Petersburg’s Church of the Spilled Blood

View more photos from Penn Alumni travel here.

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