Penn Serves LA and TreePeople at the Audubon Center

By Michelle Wattana, C’09

What a day for the Penn Serves crew! Over 25 Penn alumni, family, and friends arrived at the Audubon Center at Debs Park, ready to assist TreePeople for a day of restoration and fun! For the past 40 years, TreePeople has been gathering the people of Los Angeles to plant and care for trees, harvest rain, and renew depleted landscapes. We were grateful to join them at the Audubon Center, an environmental community hub located within the 282-acre Ernest R. Debs Regional Park in the heart of Los Angeles.

Penn Serves LA helps Treepeople in Los Angeles volunteering Penn Alumni

Some of the Penn Serves LA group ready to help TreePeople

Penn Serves LA helps with TreePeople Los Angeles volunteering Penn Alumni

More of the Penn Serves LA gang

With plenty of sunshine abound, we began by keeping the center courtyard of the park in good order, adding water and soil to surrounding plants, and raking old twigs and leaves off the ground. By the time we were finished, the courtyard looked spick and span, if we do say so ourselves!

Courtyard at Audobon Center Los Angeles cleaned up by Penn Serves LA penn alumni volunteers

A clean job well done by the volunteers

With our first task complete, the group took a short, but scenic hike to the restoration lands. With gardening gloves and tools in hand, we began clearing the land, making way for native plants such as the California buckwheat to grow and thrive. We worked up quite a sweat under the blazing sun, but had tons of fun chatting the morning away while pulling out a lot of old vegetation.

Penn Serves LA Tree People Los Angeles Penn Alumni volunteering

On the hike up to the restoration lands

Before we knew it, the small piles of weeds and dried up plants we had begun turned into large mounds before our eyes. All volunteers, big and small, had a terrific time doing their part in the great outdoors. We certainly enjoyed ourselves, getting to know one another while helping the surrounding community and environment!

TreePeople will welcome volunteers in the coming months to plant and nurture small trees.  This is essential to the work of TreePeople, as the planting of the trees will serve to help cool our city, slow the run off of rainwater, provide a habitat for animals, food for people and ultimately, make our air more breathable.

So please join TreePeople and stay tuned for more events from the Penn Serves LA crew! Email us to subscribe to our Penn Serves email list where are future service events are announced first.

About Penn Serves LA

Penn Serves LA logo volunteering with Penn Alumni in Los Angeles

Penn Serves LA impacts the Los Angeles community by engaging University of Pennsylvania alumni, parents and families in meaningful community service activities.

Since our founding in 2012, we have done everything from serving meals to the homeless to restoring the environment to fixing homes. Six times annually, we find another great opportunity to learn about interesting nonprofits, lend a hand and enjoy fun experience with fellow alumni.

Join Us

We invite the Penn community in Los Angeles (alumni, parents and kids) to join us at a future event, to help spread the word and to help us plan future activities. Join us, meet new Penn people, demonstrate what service means to your kids and friends, and help fellow Quakers make a little bit of difference in our complex city!

If you have an established nonprofit that you would like us to consider for future events or announcements, please let us know. We are looking for new nonprofits to serve in meaningful ways.

Our next event – feeding the homeless with the Fred Jordan Missions on Thanksgiving Day is already sold-out! Join the wait-list to see if any spaces open up for volunteering.

Contact Us

Questions? Want to join our email list? Reach us at pennserves@gmail.com.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

The Penn Serves LA Team

Christine Belgrad, W’85, PAR’15 | Michal Clements, W’84 | Justin Gordon, W’05 | Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16 | Leanne Huebner, W’90 | Jamie Kendall, W’04 | Irene Park, C’05 | Kiera Reilly, C’93 | Michelle Wattana, C’09 | Denise Winner, W’83

Read about our previous events:

 

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Remembering Arthur Ashe Speaking at Penn (39 Weeks To Go)

By Kiera Reilly, C’93

While sorting through old photos, I found this photo from our senior year. It is the board of Connaissance, photographed with Albert Moore, our staff advisor for SAC activities, and legendary tennis player Arthur Ashe.

Arthur Ashe speaks at University of Pennsylvania invited by Connaissance

Connaissance board members pose with Connaissance Fall 1992 Speaker Arthur Ashe. L-R Caren Lissner, C’93, Robyn Reifman, C’94, Mark Whitcher, W’93, Arthur Ashe, Kiera Reilly, C’93, Meg O’Leary, C’94, and Albert Moore from the Office of Student Affairs. (note the halo around Caren’s head is how the photo was developed!)

I did not remember much about the speech – I remember Mr. Ashe came to Penn, that I went with Meg to pick him up at 30th Street Station, and that he died not long after he visited Penn.

I hoped that Caren, Robyn, Mark, Meg and Albert might recall more than that, and Meg was the only one that had a clear memory. She wrote:

My biggest memories are of the drive picking him up at the train station.  If you remember, I hadn’t had my driver’s license very long and not a whole lot of experience driving.  My driving made Mr. Ashe quite nervous – he held the dashboard the whole way and kept asking questions of Kiera, basically asking if she’d like to take over the driving and making sure that I was going the right way.  I don’t think I drove him back to the station though. It wasn’t that long after that he died, and I remember feeling a little guilt that maybe my driving had stressed him out and made his illness worse.

I also remember that, of all our speakers, I felt that he was the most modest.  He asked for very little special treatment – just reimbursement for his travel costs (he took the train from NYC; so pretty inexpensive) and a very reasonable speaking fee.  And, in person, he was very unassuming and didn’t put on any airs, was quite down to earth.

Luckily, The Daily Pennsylvanian sent staff writer Charles Ornstein, C’96, (now a Senior Reporter for ProPublica), and he filed this report (you can see a PDF of the article here).

Arthur Ashe speaking at the University of Pennsylvania November 4, 1992

Arthur Ashe speaking at the University Museum on November 4, 1992.

Arthur Ashe speaking at the University of Pennsylvania, photo by Steve Waxman, the DP

The DP Arthur Ashe AIDS

DP staff writer Charles Ornstein

The Daily Pennsylvanian covers Arthur Ashe's visit to Penn for Connaissance

The Daily Pennsylvanian covers Arthur Ashe's visit to Penn for Connaissance

The Daily Pennsylvanian covers Arthur Ashe's visit to Penn for Connaissance

The Daily Pennsylvanian covers Arthur Ashe's visit to Penn for Connaissance

The Daily Pennsylvanian covers Arthur Ashe's visit to Penn for Connaissance

The Daily Pennsylvanian covers Arthur Ashe's visit to Penn for Connaissance

The Daily Pennsylvanian covers Arthur Ashe's visit to Penn for Connaissance

The Daily Pennsylvanian covers Arthur Ashe's visit to Penn for Connaissance

The Daily Pennsylvanian covers Arthur Ashe's visit to Penn for Connaissance

Meg’s memory is correct about Mr. Ashe being so humble. As soon as I read her note, I remembered that too. We were fortunate to help bring many prominent speakers to campus, and as Connaissance board members we often had dinner with them before the speech. But he was probably the nicest and most unassuming speaker I ever met. It was a true honor to meet him and have him speak at Penn.

While he was on campus, Mr. Ashe spoke with DP Sports Writer Jonathan Mayo. The link to their conversation as published in the DP is here.

Sadly, Meg was correct in her recollection that Mr. Ashe died not long after he visited Penn. The DP reported his death on February 8, 1993.

Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion Countdown

The weekend of August 11 – 12, 2017, marked 39 weeks until the 25th Reunion of the Penn Class of 1993 (May 11 – 14, 2018)!

Join us we count down the weeks to our reunion #93tothe25th:

  • Do you have old photos or mementos from our time at Penn? Photos of Spring Fling? Football at Franklin Field? Classes at DRL? We are taking a trip down memory lane and would love for you to share your memories with our class in a future post. Please email us upenn1993@gmail.com!
  • Join our reunion committee – email Lisa Grabelle at lisagrabelle@yahoo.com.
  • Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
  • Classmates are invited to join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.

Important hotel update! Overwhelming response from our great class has sold out the Downtown Marriott Class of 1993 room block for Saturday night. There are alternative hotels. We recommend booking ASAP! Please see our class website for additional details.

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Filed under 25th Reunion, Class of 1993, Kiera R., Memories of Penn

Script Penn – A Penn Band Homecoming Tradition (27 Weeks To Go)

By Lisa Bardfeld Shapiro, C’93, and Kiera Reilly, C’93

While our #93tothe25th countdown posts are a bit behind schedule (see our last post 40 Weeks To Go), we thought it fitting to skip ahead Penn Homecoming is this weekend. Twenty-five years ago we celebrated Homecoming during our Senior Year.

Classmate Lisa Bardfeld Shapiro was the Drum Major of the Penn Band and shared this video recorded  by her father Bennett “Buddy” Bardfeld, W’55, L’58 as the Penn Band takes the field during half-time of the Homecoming football game.

Lisa writes: Script Penn began in the 1970’s and it became tradition for the Penn Band to “write” this at the end of the half time show at the Homecoming game. The video is from our senior year, 1992. Band alumni are welcomed to join the current students on the field for script Penn, with or without instruments. Once Penn is spelled out, everyone in the stands is asked to rise for “The Red and Blue”.

Lisa also shared some of her buttons from Homecomings since we graduated. Does anyone else have any old Homecoming buttons?

Penn Homecoming buttons

Penn Homecoming buttons from 1994, 1995 and 2002 courtesy of Lisa Bardfeld Shapiro, C’93

We hope to see you this weekend at Penn Homecoming! Click here for Homecoming activities this weekend, including gatherings with the Classes of 1988 – 1993!

Let’s Go Penn! Beat Princeton!

Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion Countdown

This weekend, November 3 – 4, 2017, marks 27 weeks until the 25th Reunion of the Penn Class of 1993 (May 11 – 14, 2018)!

Join us we count down the weeks to our reunion #93tothe25th:

  • Do you have old photos or mementos from our time at Penn? Photos of Spring Fling? Football at Franklin Field? Classes at DRL? We are taking a trip down memory lane and would love for you to share your memories with our class in a future post. Please email us upenn1993@gmail.com!
  • Join our reunion committee – email Lisa Grabelle at lisagrabelle@yahoo.com.
  • Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
  • Classmates are invited to join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.

Important hotel update! Overwhelming response from our great class has sold out the Downtown Marriott Class of 1993 room block for Saturday night. There are alternative hotels. We recommend booking ASAP! Please see our class website for additional details.

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Filed under 25th Reunion, Class of 1993, Homecoming Weekend featuring arts and culture, Kiera R., Memories of Penn

We Shall Find a Way in 1893 (40 Weeks To Go)

By Kiera Reilly, C’93

We shall find a way, or we shall make one!

A famous phrase seen and referenced often at Penn. You may recognize the phrase, or the phrase in its original Latin, Inveniemus viam aut faciemus. But do you remember where you have seen this written on campus?

It is on the arch of the Class of 1893 gate that straddles the walkway between Houston Hall and Williams Hall. How fitting that a Penn class that graduated 100 years before us (the original Penn ’93), is responsible for enshrining this quote on campus.

The Penn Current featured a story of the gate in April, and I knew we had to share more about this gate with our class in the countdown to our reunion year. The old photo below shows College Hall in the background. Houston Hall is to the right of the gate, and Williams Hall is the building that is now to the left.

Class of 1893 gate university of pennsylvania, photo from University Archives #93tothe25th

The Class of 1893 Gate – Photo Credit University Archives and Records Center. The latin inscription across the arch translates to, “We will find a way or we shall make one.”

From the Current article:

Marking an entrance into campus from Spruce Street, and tucked between Houston and Williams halls, sits the Class of 1893 Memorial Gate. Designed by two members of the class—Elliston P. Bissell and William C. Hays—the gate has a brick and terracotta base with arched ironwork that spells out the class motto in Latin: Inveniemus viam aut faciemus. (This translates to mean “We will find a way or we shall make one.”)

 

Bissell and Hays were part of the first class in Penn’s School of Architecture, and designed the gate in 1900. Hays, in fact, was already familiar with sketching ideas for campus structures: He won first place in the competition to design a student union for Penn, Houston Hall. (Milton Bennett Medary, Jr. won second place and the two designs were combined, with Medary’s design being the exterior.) In 1904, Hays took a position at the University of California and, over the years, worked as architect and consulting architect on many of that university’s buildings on the Davis, San Francisco, and Berkeley campuses. After the San Francisco fire of 1906, Hays was on the team that supervised the rebuilding of much of the destroyed city.

After graduation, Bissell worked first with the firm Cope and Stewardson, and then opened his own firm, Bissell and Sinkler, where he worked until his retirement in 1936. In his career, Bissell helped to restore buildings in Independence Square, designed residential buildings in Gloucester, N.J., and Chester, Pa., and helped to restore Elfreth’s Alley and estates in Germantown. For years, Bissell was also a member of the Committee for the Preservation of Historic Monuments and a chairman of a state survey of historic buildings.

For more information about this and other historical aspects of Penn, visit the University Archives website.

And as Paul Harvey might say, “now you know the rest of the story!”

Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion Countdown

The weekend of August 4 – 5, 2017, marked 40 weeks until the 25th Reunion of the Penn Class of 1993 (May 11 – 14, 2018)!

Join us we count down the weeks to our reunion #93tothe25th:

  • Do you have old photos or mementos from our time at Penn? Photos of Spring Fling? Football at Franklin Field? Classes at DRL? We are taking a trip down memory lane and would love for you to share your memories with our class in a future post. Please email us upenn1993@gmail.com!
  • Join our reunion committee – email Lisa Grabelle at lisagrabelle@yahoo.com.
  • Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
  • Classmates are invited to join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.

Important hotel update! Overwhelming response from our great class has sold out the Downtown Marriott Class of 1993 room block for Saturday night. There are alternative hotels. We recommend booking ASAP! Please see our class website for additional details.

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Filed under 25th Reunion, Class of 1993, Kiera R.

Penn 1-9-9-3 (41 Weeks To Go)

By Kiera Reilly, C’93

This summer the craft bug hit me, and with long sunny days, what better craft project to tackle than painting numbers? I was in Jo Ann Fabrics and Crafts and the large paper mache numbers were on sale! I decided to buy three different sizes of numbers and painted them different ways. A perfect project for a lazy summer day – also, painting is fun! You focus on making it perfect and forget all the other projects or tasks you *should* be doing instead.

Penn 1993 25th reunion craft painting red and blue numbers #93tothe25th University of Pennsylvania

Crafting for Penn 1993!

Penn 1993 25th reunion for University of Pennsylvania craft painting numbers red and blue #93tothe25th

Small wooden numbers (note how the sides are in the contrasting blue or red?). I really like how these look.

Penn 1993 25th reunion University of Pennsylvania #93tothe25th Kiera Reilly paints numbers red and blue

Playing around with how to paint the large numbers – Each color area needed two coats. On the right I did blue edges, then white border and red…but you couldn’t really see the blue.

I brought the numbers to Philadelphia, and we took some photos at the Center City location for our Friday night party.

Kiera Reilly Lisa Grabelle Penn 1993 25th reunion #93tothe25th University of Pennsylvania

Kiera Reilly, Colleen Kelly, Hillary Hayes and Lisa Grabelle scouting locations for our Friday night reunion party with our 1993 numbers! (Intentionally obscured the view until we officially announce reunion weekend details)

The numbers also explored campus a bit, thanks to our Alumni Relations liaison Colleen Kelly.

Penn 1993 at Sweeten Alumni House University of Pennsylvania 25th reunion #93tothe25th

Sweeten Alumni House

Penn 1993 at the Love statue University of Pennsylvania 25th reunion #93tothe25th

The LOVE statue in front of the Castle and Sweeten Alumni House

Penn 1993 25th reunion on the steps of College Hall at the University of Pennsylvania #93tothe25th

1993 on the steps of College Hall

Penn 1993 at the Button in front of Van Pelt Library University of Pennsylvania 25th reunion #93tothe25th

The Button!

Do you have anything that says Penn 1993 on it? Share it with us upenn1993@gmail.com.

Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion Countdown

The weekend of July 28 – 29, 2017, marked 41 weeks until the 25th Reunion of the Penn Class of 1993 (May 11 – 14, 2018)!

Join us we count down the weeks to our reunion #93tothe25th:

  • Do you have old photos or mementos from our time at Penn? Photos of Spring Fling? Football at Franklin Field? Classes at DRL? We are taking a trip down memory lane and would love for you to share your memories with our class in a future post. Please email us upenn1993@gmail.com!
  • Join our reunion committee – email Lisa Grabelle at lisagrabelle@yahoo.com.
  • Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
  • Classmates are invited to join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.

Important hotel update! Overwhelming response from our great class has sold out the Downtown Marriott Class of 1993 room block for Saturday night. There are alternative hotels. We recommend booking ASAP! Please see our class website for additional details.

Leave a comment

Filed under 25th Reunion, Class of 1993, Kiera R.

The Significance of Ivy Stones

By: Gina Sesta, GEd’18

1873(2)
The first Ivy Stone dated June 7, 1873. Located on College Hall.

On the University of Pennsylvania campus, it is easy to spot of the numerous slabs of marble installed on different buildings, each one inscribed with a particular year and a unique design. These pieces are known as the Ivy Stones and encompass a part of Penn’s history greater than the year they commemorate. They hold a lengthy past dating back to 1873 when the first stone was placed on College Hall in recognition of the institution settling into West Philadelphia from the original Center City location. What is now known as Ivy Day is held just a few days before commencement. It is at this annual ceremony that the Ivy Stone in honor of the graduating class is revealed.

 

Each Ivy Stone is able to provide insight on the graduating class from that particular year and sometimes a broader historical context. Between the years of 1926 until 1961, tradition had shifted from just one stone installed each year to two– one for the men of the graduating class and one for the women. The stones from these years were often similar in design yet a stark difference can be seen in the men’s stones of 1944 and 1945. Both years featured an image relating to war with the 1944 stone including a military aircraft and 1945 displaying a combat helmet.

1878-1978.jpg

Ivy Stones from 1878 and 1978

The location of an Ivy Stone on campus is informative of the values during a particular year. A graduating class has a voice in the both the design of the stone and its location. For example, many of the first stones were placed on College Hall as that was the first and central building of the campus. As the value of student life increased, stones began to be placed on Houston Hall which was the first student union in the nation. Many of the women’s stones can be found on Bennett Hall, the main facility for women in Penn’s past. An Ivy Stone can even be found at Franklin Field in recognition of Penn’s 1983 Ivy League championship.

The Ivy Day tradition is set to continue this year on May 12, 2018.

Follow Penn Alumni on Instragram where we will be featuring Ivy Stones throughout Penn’s history!

 

2002-2013-2014-20171-e1508165573193.jpg

Source: http://www.library.upenn.edu/exhibits/pennhistory/ivystones/ivystones.ica.html

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Penn Serves LA Restores the Ballona Wetlands

By Michelle Wattana, C’09

Penn Serves LA at the Ballona Wetlands

Penn Serves LA at the Ballona Wetlands

It was a terrific day all around for the environment, community, and the twenty-six Penn volunteers who came out to help preserve native vegetation with Friends of Ballona Wetlands in Marina Del Rey! Donning hats and sunscreen, we started the morning off with a quick but informative overview on the local plants, insects, and animals found in the wetlands that are crucial to maintaining a healthy ecosystem. We learned that over the last century, invasive plant species have made their way into the wetlands (some from as far as New Zealand and South Africa!), slowly encroaching upon the beneficial species and detrimentally altering the balance of the local ecosystem. With every plant we pulled, we were going to make change that had positive lasting impacts!  And with that, we set out into the sunny outdoors to make way for the native plants that needed room to thrive, and for the insects and animals that depended on them.

Penn Serves LA Restores Ballona Wetland Acres of Vegetation to Preserve

Acres of Vegetation to Preserve

The Ballona Wetlands spans approximately 800 acres, and is one of Southern California’s precious remaining aquatic ecosystems. With only 10% of California’s original wetlands remaining today, restoration and preservation of local, beneficial species is more important than ever, as the wetlands are crucial to everything from air purification, flood protection, and fueling for the 240+ species of migrant birds that make the trek on the Pacific Flyway every year. Since 1978, Friends of Ballona Wetlands has been leading the effort to save and restore the area, working with environmental agencies, businesses, and over 95,000 volunteers to bring attention and resources toward preserving the wetlands.

Penn Serves LA Restores Ballona Wetlands volunteers learn to recognize invasive plants

Volunteers learning how to recognize invasive plants

Penn Serves LA Restores Ballona Wetlands

Penn Serves LA Restores Ballona Wetlands - family volunteering

Volunteering a family affair!

With just a pair of gloves each, Penn volunteers got right to work, pulling everything from ice plants to soft tumbleweed – adults and children alike had a great time helping the environment and getting to know one another better, while also receiving a nice morning workout! We took turns pulling, bagging, and carting off the invasive vegetation, and a few of us were lucky enough to catch sight of a hummingbird or butterfly, or two!

Penn Serves LA Restores Ballona Wetlands - smiles during break

All smiles during a well deserved break!

Penn Serves LA Restores Ballona Wetlands

Penn Serves LA board member Jane Gutman CW’73 and volunteers stacking the fruits of their labor

Penn Serves LA board member Jane Gutman CW’73 and volunteers stacking the fruits of their labor

Towards the end of the event, we stood back and marveled at our work – a good chunk of land was cleared for beneficial plants to thrive, and for seeding to take place in the Fall. We were then rewarded with a cool breeze and a beautiful view overlooking the salt marsh, reminding us just how important it is to keep the wetlands thriving. It was a true pleasure to do our part for mother nature!

Penn Serves LA restores Ballona Wetlands

The beautiful salt marsh

Penn Serves LA's Michal Clements, W'84, Jane Gutman, CW'73, XXX, and Michelle Wattana C'09

Penn Serves LA’s Michal Clements, W’84, Jane Gutman, CW’73, Elizabeth Gourlis, GED’08, and Michelle Wattana C’09 (impressive line-up of Penn attire ladies!)

Jane Gutman, CW'73, helps to clear out invasive vegetation

Jane Gutman, CW’73, helps to clear out invasive vegetation

Stay tuned for more fun, upcoming events with Penn Serves LA!

About Penn Serves LA

Penn Serves LA logo volunteering with Penn Alumni in Los Angeles

Penn Serves LA impacts the Los Angeles community by engaging University of Pennsylvania alumni, parents and families in meaningful community service activities.

Since our founding in 2012, we have done everything from serving meals to the homeless to restoring the environment to fixing homes. Six times annually, we find another great opportunity to learn about interesting nonprofits, lend a hand and enjoy fun experience with fellow alumni.

Join Us

We invite the Penn community in Los Angeles (alumni, parents and kids) to join us at a future event, to help spread the word and to help us plan future activities. Join us, meet new Penn people, demonstrate what service means to your kids and friends, and help fellow Quakers make a little bit of difference in our complex city!

If you have an established nonprofit that you would like us to consider for future events or announcements, please let us know. We are looking for new nonprofits to serve in meaningful ways.

Stay tuned for additional fall events which will be announced soon!

Contact Us

Questions? Want to join our email list? Reach us at pennserves@gmail.com.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

The Penn Serves LA Team

Christine Belgrad, W’85, PAR’15 | Michal Clements, W’84 | Justin Gordon, W’05 | Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16 | Leanne Huebner, W’90 | Jamie Kendall, W’04 | Irene Park, C’05 | Kiera Reilly, C’93 | Jeff Weston, C’05 | Michelle Wattana, C’09 | Denise Winner, W’83

Read about our previous events:

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Filed under Guest blogger, Los Angeles, Penn Serves, Penn Serves LA