Author: Dan Bernick, C’14
In December, I was invited to attend the 2012 Fels Institute of Government holiday party. The turnout was unbelievable – close to 300 registered guests (not including those, like me, who forget to register…oops!). I was amazed by how many people attended and how they all seemed to know each other. It is a small school, but a big family.
The Fels Institute of Government is Penn’s graduate school for public policy and public management. The school itself is inside a small mansion. But the school is much more than a house. It is a home.
As an undergraduate, I am privileged to have the opportunity to take courses at Fels. The graduate students all have diverse experiences in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, and they bring their knowledge to bear in the classroom. However, I do not feel out of place, because the students are so welcoming.
In fact, it’s normal for classmates to meet in the house on a Saturday morning – outside of class – to collaborate on a project. It is expected they use the kitchen to cook and store snacks, and they all have coffee mugs on the counter for morning classes. Last semester, while taking a few courses at Fels, I spent more time there than in my dorm.
The relationships one develops, the experiences and the memories are part and parcel of a Penn education. The small Fels house kitty-corner from Philly Diner (RIP) is a huge part of that, and is my home away from home.