My Top Penn List – New Student Orientation 2013

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

It’s upon us.

After the March 28 acceptance letters… after the yield events in hometowns with alumni talking about their wonderful times at Penn… after the rush for supplies at Bed, Bath and Beyond, Target, Kohls or Ikea… after the Regional Club or Penn Parents or Interview Program’s Welcome to Penn summer student reception… after the long drive in the car packed to the gills with new possessions, old favorites, great memories and dreams… after the promises to call home often, the newly-arrived member of the Class of 2017 is on campus.

Here are my top ten Penn things about New Student Orientation (NSO).

10. Move In

Moving to Penn is a major event in a student’s life; it’s the start of a student’s academic career and life-long relationship with our fantastic university. Eschewing the term, “dormitory,” on-campus housing is a collection of 11 College Houses. Each College House couples diverse students with faculty and offers its own unique combination of architectural features, specialized programming, and distinctive staff, while also providing a high level of advising and support for academic and co-curricular activities.

Reminisce about your Penn days and see how Penn’s updated the on-campus living experience with a look at our College Houses’ Facebook pages: Du Bois, Fisher Hassenfeld (Upper Quad), Gregory, (Van Pelt and MLCH) Harnwell, (High Rise East) Harrison (High Rise South), Hill, Kings Court-English, Riepe (Lower Quad), Rodin (High Rise North), Stouffer (Stouffer and Meyer Hall) and Ware.

9. The 2013-14 Penn Reading Project (PRP)

The PRP book for the Class of 2017

Started with my incoming class (the Class of 1995), the PRP was created as an introduction for incoming freshmen to academic life at Penn.  This year’s choice is Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop by Adam Bradley. The Class of 2017 will meet in various locations on campus on the afternoon of Monday, August 26, 2013, to discuss the reading.

For our alumni volunteers reading, hosting a bookclub around the reading of this book is something that your alumni liaison would be willing to help you plan.

8. NSO Preceptorials

Preceptorials are short, small, non-credit seminars coordinated by the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education (SCUE) and led by distinguished faculty, outstanding graduate students, lauded external educators and exceptional undergraduate students. The program is designed to foster an interactive and educative environment that values learning for learning’s sake. To that end, there are no grades or tests so that students are given the opportunity to have a guided learning experience outside the traditional setting of a classroom

7. First Year Fridays

NSO is just a week, but First Year Fridays are all year long. Join your fellow freshmen for a number of activities meant to ease the transition into college and provide a fun venue for making new friends and learning about out great university and what it has to offer

6. Highball to Hey Day

Learn the words to the School Songs and have the first opportunity to sign your Class Banner, which will follow through your life-long relationship with Penn

“Highball to Hey Day,” a Penn Traditions event, is designed to teach students about Penn’s history and traditions, foster Penn pride, inspire class unity, offer opportunities for direct communication between students and alumni, and education students about Penn’s institutional strengths and challenges in preparation for their lifelong role as alumni. I’m looking forward to seeing Nicole Svonavec’s post tomorrow about this tradition since 2006.

5. Peers Helping Incoming New Students (PHINS)

In addition to being one of my favorite acronyms at Penn, PHINS are NSO leaders who are trained to aid incoming freshmen and transfer students with their general adjustment to life at Penn. PHINS reach out to incoming students in the summer through Facebook and are in-person assistants during NSO.

4. Breakfast with Faculty

On Monday, August 26, 2013, 8:30 – 10am, students are invited to Hill College House dining hall to have breakfast with Penn faculty who teach popular freshmen courses and learn all about them

3. Pictures at the LOVE statue

Need I say more?

2. NSO’s social media

Like all well planned events, NSO has reached out to our Class of 2017 with its official Facebook Page – – and Official NSO Twitter.

1. Penn Traditions Welcome Picnic

Dr. Gutmann and the Penn Band welcoming the class of 2016 and their parents

Parents and students are invited to join Penn Parents, Penn Traditions, Penn Alumni Relations staff, and PHINS at College Green and Class of 1976 Patio (Rain Location: Wynn Commons) on Friday, August 23 from 11am to 1pm for a bite to eat after the intense job of moving into your new College House home.

I hope that this list makes you feel warmly nostalgic for your alma mater and we welcome you back to meet our newest class during Homecoming, which is only 78 days away (November 8 and 9.)


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