Author: Casey Ryan, C’95
I can’t believe that it’s been over two months since I wrote about things to do when the students aren’t at Penn. Over the last week, campus’s energy has increased as student volunteers, like the Phins come back for training before move-in. The buzz culminated for us this past Thursday as Alumni Relations welcomed the class of 2015 and their parents.
Penn Traditions Family Picnic serves as brief respite for parents and incoming first years from the move in process. Alumni Relations and Penn Traditions welcome all to grab a bite to eat and relax on College Green. Everything now seems so unfamiliar and imposing. Yet, the view from the grass on a red or blue blanket is of new beginning and opportunities.
There’s College Hall, Wednesday’s site of an introductory class. There’s Van Pelt library, the future site of an all-nighter to write a research paper. There’s Split Button, a midnight study break where students play Whac-A-Mole with friends. (Seriously, I did this a few times to blow off some finals steam.)
Now, it’s fodder for memories – the grown-up versions of the first day of School. A young student takes her first steps to independence. Parents acknowledge the son has grown-up well. A brother is inspired by his sister and looks forward to his college search. Grandmothers and grandfathers are in awe of their granddaughter’s achievements. These are all moments for everyone to be proud.
This all subtext, though. For now, parents, freshman and transfer students are on the green, sharing a soda, eating some fun and enjoying the break. It doesn’t seem too important right now, but this picnic will be the first of all lifelong Penn traditions that each student will experience.