Monthly Archives: July 2013

With Great Anticip…

Author: Patrick Bredehoft

For the better part of the last two years, I’ve garnered concerned looks whenever I start to talk excitedly about a floating boardwalk on the Schuylkill.

“There are great plans underway!” I exclaim to anyone who will listen.  “Someday, we’ll be able to walk from the South Street Bridge all the way up to Walnut Street, on a boardwalk perched above the river!”  As is often the fate of prognosticators and sooth-sayers, my promises for a brighter future have been met with fear, suspicion, and uncertainty, particularly if I make these statements to utter strangers whizzing by on their bikes.

Actually, I do not make such proclamations vocally, but I am irrationally excited about the Schuylkill River Trail extension currently under construction. The trail now ends just below Walnut Street, with a convenient overpass to access the nearby park: bikers are forced to end their ride in an abrupt cul-de-sac, while runners find themselves veering off of the river’s bank and filing back onto Center City streets. For those of us who live south of South Street, it’s tempting to wish that the trail would extend just a little further, although it’s also easy to understand why it doesn’t. At that point on the trail, the river bank narrows sharply as a more industrial set of buildings encroach, meaning that the only path along the river would quickly land you in the river.


That’s why this most recent construction project is such a thrill: they’re putting the Schuylkill Trail directly over the river. The boardwalk won’t float, but it will perch on pylons a few feet above the water, extending evening walks by another half mile, tempting fishermen into deeper waters, and royally freaking out my scaredy-cat of a dog, who has to be coaxed across even the sturdiest of bridges.


Here is Lilli, unresistingly being used as a pillow by the cat, Mac.

Over the past few months, every addition that has been made to this multi-stage construction project has led to some new thrill/temptation for me to shout:

    • Wow, the pipe they’re using for that concrete pillar is HUGE!!
    • Hey, the ramp is almost done!

So far, I have continued to restrain myself, but I don’t know how much more I can take.


I love to walk in Philadelphia. You can get nearly anywhere in this city if you’re willing to put in a half hour at a steady pace. I like that if you own a car here, you rarely need to use it.  I also appreciate that the Philadelphia “Powers that Be” seem to nurture these pedestrian impulses.  Only recently did I discover that you can walk (or bike) essentially uninterrupted from Center City to Valley Forge on the Schuylkill River Trail, and that when completed, this trail will extend almost 130 miles, from Philly to Pottsville, from the University of Pennsylvania’s campus all the way to the Appalachian Trail.

I think Ben Franklin would be proud of the face that part of his legacy was a footpath with the power to lead people out into Penn’s Woods, following the banks of a river that he hoped would one day become easier to navigate.

In Dutch, Schuylkill means “hidden river,” and, while I certainly advocate for keeping rivers wild and free, I think Ben had this one right: the Schuylkill is a river that should be easy to navigate, and easy for people to enjoy.

And with every passing day, the trail gets a little closer…


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Filed under Ben Franklin, Patrick B., Philadelphia

Sizzler, 2013

Author: Lisa Marie Patzer

Although the word “Sizzler” may conjure images of steaks or car races for some, ask anyone in Sweeten Alumni House and they will tell you “Sizzler” is an annual conference for Higher Education organizations that use iModules to manage their online constituent relationships.  This is the first year Penn Alumni staff has attended the conference in order to learn tips, tricks, and best practices about our new online engagement platform.


Speaker at Sizzler

Social Media Presentation at Sizzler

Social Media Presentation at Sizzler

I have been following the Sizzler twitter feed and here are some of my favorite messages.

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The new Penn Alumni site will include responsive design for our mobile audience.

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Event management will be part of the new iModules tool.

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@PennAlumni has established strong social media ambassadors.

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Email marketing has not been replaced by social media.

These are a few examples of topics covered during the Sizzler conference.  Look for more information on changes to the Penn Alumni online communications in upcoming months!

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Filed under Lisa Marie Patzer, Social Networking, Uncategorized

What’s Happening at Penn this Summer?

Author: Joshua Durando

With the craziness of the academic year behind us and only a few weeks left before the frenzy of a new school year starts, I decided to take a walk around campus today to see what’s going on. While my summer has been a tad slow, the campus is still abuzz with activity, with new construction happening all over campus.

ArchIf you’ve visited Sweeten Alumni House recently, the scene above might look familiar to you. The renovations on The ARCH are coming along nicely.

If you continue just down Walnut Street, you’ll encounter another large project: the new Nanotechnology building.


Both spaces are going to be absolutely beautiful and will undoubtedly aid in making campus even more dynamic.

Have you made your plans to see all that’s new and happening at Penn over Homecoming Weekend? It’s never to soon to start planning for Homecoming Weekend featuring arts & culture, happening November 8 through the 10, 2013. You can keep up with the most up-to-date information here. Hope to see you all there!

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Filed under Campus Life, Homecoming Weekend featuring arts and culture, Josh D.

Save the Date for Penn Spectrum, Sept. 20-22, 2013

Author: Lillian Gardiner, GEd’11

From September 20-22,  2013, Penn  will host Penn Spectrum, the University’s second weekend-long alumni conference devoted entirely to celebrating diversity. Through this conference, sponsored by the Office of the President and Penn Alumni Relations, Penn seeks to engage diverse undergraduate and graduate alumni from all walks of life, and to provide a new opportunity for them to reconnect with one another and their alma mater in a meaningful way.

Though any interested alumni may attend, Penn Spectrum will focus on programs of interest to Asian, Black, Latino, Native American, and LGBT communities, the populations served by the existing volunteer coalition of the Penn Alumni Diversity Alliance. This has made Penn the first among its peers to bring together alumni of color and LGBT alumni at one conference to affirm not only individual group affinity and identity, but also cross-cultural collaboration and understanding.

Registration for the conference will open next week. You can find that and more on the Penn Spectrum website.

Stay tuned for more details and specifics to follow.




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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Lillian G., Multicultural Outreach, Penn Spectrum

Goodbye, Fiscal Year 2013…

Author: Max Gaines

... Hello, fiscal year 2014!

With the start of the University of Pennsylvania new fiscal year 2014, we here at The Penn Fund are joining forces with Alumni Relations to remind our proud Penn alumni that reunions are quickly approaching.

With that comes a little house cleaning. The University of Pennsylvania is seeking to confirm or renew the contact information for all alumni:

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You can always just call us to update your information to. We’d love to hear from you! Seriously, we would – it’s kind of dead around here.

Oh,  and remember Alumni Weekend on May 16-19, 2014, so updating your information before then would be great.


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Filed under Max G., The Penn Fund

Miss the Palestra? Take a video tour.

By Jason S.

When was the last time you visited our very own cathedral of basketball? This video may be a few years old but the nostalgia it evokes for one of Penn’s most iconic and historic buildings is undeniable.


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Filed under Memories of Penn, Penn Basketball

Eating and Scooping Ice Cream for a Great Cause – Again!

Author: Stephanie Yee, C’08

Two years ago, I blogged about an amazing volunteer event involving ice cream. This year, the Penn Alumni Club of Philadelphia volunteered at the event again, but this time, it was the 15th annual “all-you-can-eat” ice cream Super Scooper event. Tons of people came out for ice cream, even though it was a very rainy day. Here are some photos from the event.

A rainy, cloudy, and gloomy day at Penn’s Landing.

A rainy, cloudy, and gloomy day at Penn’s Landing.


Scooping Ben & Jerry's Blueberry Cheesecake Frozen Greek yogurt.

Scooping Ben & Jerry’s Blueberry Cheesecake Frozen Greek Yogurt.

Penn alumni volunteers!

Penn alumni volunteers!


The sun finally came out in time to help make the ice cream more "scoopable."

The sun finally came out in time to help make the ice cream more “scoopable.”

Cute cups of delicious ice cream. You know you want some now.

Cute cups of delicious ice cream.

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July 23, 2013 · 9:55 am

Traveling in Sin: A True Tale of Transformation through Love and Travel

Author: Lisa Ellen Niver,  CAS’89

Next May, it will be my turn to celebrate 25 years since I graduated from Penn. I am still close with many of my friends from Ware College House. I count on them for so many things. I remember our days in the Quad especially during Hurricane Gloria. I had never been in a hurricane. I learned so many lessons in and out of the classroom. In part, it was my education at Penn that challenged me to take risks, and gave me the interest in journey to other countries.

I have truly taken the Penn motto “we will find a way or we will make one” to heart. After George found me online in 2007, we chose to quit our jobs and meander around Asia for a year from 2008-2009. During that time, I lost over fifty pounds, we got engaged underwater,  and we learned how to be a team.  When we returned home, we wrote a book together.  Last week,  I am happy to say that we published that book, Traveling in Sin.

The book is available on Amazon and was recently mentioned in Westside Today. In the article, Sommer said, that the book…”is a love story and travel memoir rolled in to a single, enjoyable book.” That love story started with my friends and experiences at Penn, where I was encouraged to pursue my curiosity to make discoveries around the globe.

You can learn more about the book and about our life together in the slideshow below.

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Lisa Ellen Niver

Ice (Cream) Ice (Cream) Baby

by Nicole C. Maloy

I’m sure there are many things to talk about other than the oppressive heat wave that is smothering Philadelphia. But, right now, those things are all merging into one, foggy, humid mass in my brain, and oozing out of my pores in the form of schvitz. The heat index yesterday in some places was 108, and today is expected to be worse. So, today, I am going to talk about ice cream.

Ah, ice cream. My favorite source of calcium. See? Fat schmat. When it comes to ingredients and nutritional value, I like to focus on the positive. Be “half-full,” as they say. And, on a day like this, I’d like to be half-full of ice cream.

In Philadelphia, there is no shortage of locations where one might cool off via tasty treats  (hello, Rita’s Water Ice!). But you might not know about Little Baby’s Ice Cream. With flavors like Earl Grey Sriracha, Chipotle Chocolate, and Sweet Potato Burnt Marshmallow, this is a stop that everyone should make at least once.

That said, here in University City, you can take it one step up from ice cream to gelato (mmm, mmm!) at Capogiro on 39th & Walnut (choose “CapoPenn” in the location dropdown). They’ve got Mojito, Thai Coconut Milk, and one I haven’t seen before called “Dark and Stormy,” with lemon, ginger, and rum. They also have sorbetto, so you really can’t go wrong.  If I don’t pass out on the way, I look forward to seeing you there.

Mmm... gelato. Made fresh each morning. Sadly, not in time for me to have some on the way to work... but it will be there, waiting for me.

Mmm… gelato. Made fresh each morning. Sadly, not in time for me to have some on the way to work… but it will be there, waiting for me.

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Filed under Nicole M.

For the “Red” in the Red and the Blue

Author: Marvin Rocha, C’06

Today is a “Red Day” on Penn’s campus. During the hot summer days, the amount of energy that Penn uses peaks. Employees, faculty, and staff across the University receive an email that asks them to reduce the demand they are putting on the grid during “Red Days.”

Through a coordinated effort, all 216 _ buildings on Penn’s 302 acre campus dim: window blinds are shut, lights in offices and hallways are turned off all together, computer screen brightness is lessened, unused appliances are unplugged, and most importantly, air conditioning units are strategically cycled-off.

The savings from one person’s working space are multiplied many times over and allows Penn to use resources in better ways—which is awesome when you consider what other things (like Financial Aid) are funded by the simple act of thousands of people at Penn turning off a light switch. Considering this, I don’t mind sending emails (or writing a blog post for Frankly Penn) in the dark.

Our hallway in the Franklin Building...Even the elevators seem more subdued somehow.

Our hallway in the Franklin Building…Even the elevators seem more subdued somehow.

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Campus Life, Marvin R., Sustainability at Penn, yPenn