I walked to work today. It is already hot out. I really wish I had time in my day for a quick dip in the pool over at Pottruck, but unfortunately I am too busy writing this blog post. The next best thing, however, is looking at old pictures of people frolicking in the water at Penn. Here’s a picture circa 1905 of folks having a great time at the Weightman Hall pool.
As I was poking around the university archives page, I noticed a dashing man in a mustache featured several times over. This was George Kistler, swimming coach for Penn from 1897 to 1934. He was the world champion of the open water mile in 1887, and apparently swam from Philadelphia to Chester in the Delaware river at one point. I’m not sure if I would want to do that even if I could, but hey, hats (and mustaches) off to you, George.
It’s been a week of “lasts” here at dear old Penn – yesterday was my last chapter meeting with Sigma Kappa, today was my last day of classes, and Friday will be my last rehearsal with Counterparts. Normally, I’d be excited for the closing of yet another school year. Summer’s just around the corner, and I’ll get to spend it with so many of my friends who are choosing to stay in Philly! But for one reason or another, I don’t feel that excited. At least not right now.
Maybe it’s the rain (sorry, I mean MONSOON) outside. Maybe it’s the looming papers and final exams that I have in the next couple weeks. Or maybe it’s the realization that I’ll be boarding a plane next semester instead of driving 45 minutes to move back on campus. Whatever it is, I’m sad to be nearing the end of my sophomore year. It was hard getting back into the swing of things when I returned to campus this past August, and it by no means got any easier. But in spite of all that, I can say with confidence that it was better than my freshman year. I was presented with new and exciting opportunities, and more importantly I met new and exciting people, people who I am honored to call close friends.
I found this picture in my room earlier this afternoon:
It’s the first picture of me from this academic year, the first day of NSO to be exact. I definitely had no idea what the year was going to be like, but that didn’t stop me from goofing off with my friends! That seems to be the best way for me to combat the anxiety of not knowing, acting silly. Hopefully, I can keep a similar lightheartedness as I enter my semester abroad next year.
I wonder what my last picture from sophomore year will look like. I guess I don’t really need to know right now. There’s fun in not knowing.
Until next year, dear Quakers. I’ll be seeing you. Thanks for reading 🙂
Happy New Year, Quakers! I hope you all celebrated accordingly 🙂
Since we’re only into the second day of 2014, I don’t believe it’s unreasonable to look back on the many fond memories I had in good ol’ 2013. However, this is, after all, a Penn blog. That’s why I’m using this post for My Top 12 Penn Moments of 2013, one for each month. Enjoy, and try to think of your Top 12 Penn Moments as well!
I get invited to become a member of the Sigma Kappa sorority! I celebrated my acceptance with my new sisters all through the night, right into my 19th birthday the next morning. Talk about a great birthday present!
I finally meet my Big!
Big-Little Week for Sigma Kappa! (For those who are unfamiliar with the term “Big-Little Week,” click here for more info.) After a FULL WEEK of anonymously-sent baked goods, gifts, and guys, I discover who my wonderful Big is: Tara!
Spring Break has arrived at Penn, and what better way to spend it than with my fellow Quakers! I take a weekend trip to Tenafly, NJ with my good friends Charlotte and Gabby, both of whom I met through the freshman seminar “Katharine Hepburn Films.” I also travel to New York City with a few members of Counterparts: Lilly, Scott, and Nina.
Enjoying Fling with some SK girls and Mask & Wig guys!
CP about to take the stage
Ok, so I’m cheating a little bit here. I have two big moments from April 2013. The first, of course, is Spring Fling. I mean, how can I leave that out? It’s the largest collegiate carnival on the eastern seaboard! Not to mention, it was my first one. The second moment: Time to Shine, of course. Counterparts was one of the many student groups to perform before the Train and John Legend concert. What was even cooler was that we were the first group to sing on the same stage as these artists!
My freshman year at Penn finally comes to a close, but not before I start recording for the new CP album! In the midst of studying for final exams, we all come in at various times to record various songs from first and second semester.
A beautiful day to see the Arc de Triomphe
Bonjour de la France! Already having departed in late May, I am entering my third week in Tours, France with the Penn-in-Tours summer abroad program. For six weeks, I study a year’s worth of French at the Université François-Rabelais with about 30 other Penn students. We all live with host families and go on weekend trips around the Loire Valley, visiting castles, exploring museums, and tasting wine! After mid-terms, we are given a three-day weekend to travel anywhere in France. I, along with my friends Rachel, Emily, Fola, and Faith, decide to spend those days roaming the magnificent city of Paris.
A summer is not complete without a trip to the beach. In addition to my family’s annual vacation in Strathmere, NJ, I spend a weekend in Wildwood with my good friend, Alexa. She’s one of the first friends I made at Penn!
BACK. TO. SCHOOL. After another summer of not tanning at all, I am ready for Sophomore year to begin! Before NSO even starts, however, I kick off the new school year as a student leader for the PennArts pre-orientation program. I participated in PennArts as a freshman, and it’s just as fun to experience it again as a leader. The 50-60 of us explore all the arts that both the Penn and Philadelphia communities have to offer.
The PennArts leaders are ready to welcome the freshmen!
CP welcomes its newest members: David, Emily, Michael, and Andrew!
Date Night? More like Neuro Night! A Wharton junior in SK has partnered with the drink company, Neuro, for a class project. As a thank-you for all of her hard work, Neuro brings in manicurists and hair stylists to the SK house to help the girls get ready for our Date Night downtown!
Sarah, Virginia, and I try some Neuro while we wait to get our hair done
After weeks and weeks of rehearsal, Counterparts performs its Fall show, “Private ‘Parts.” I sing a jazz song by Melody Gardot called “Baby, I’m a Fool.”
I am invited to sing at the Mask & Wig Club’s annual Charity Ball! The band held auditions earlier in the Fall, and several girls (a bunch of them in CP!) were selected to perform. The guys were extremely fun to rehearse with, and the songs were so much fun! Of the three events I sang for, Charity Ball was definitely my favorite. Everyone dresses up in gowns and tuxedos for a night of great food, dancing, and music. What a classy way to close out the year!
Me and my date, Luke
And there you have it, 2013 through the eyes of a Penn Quaker. I hope 2014 brings just as many great moments like these, maybe even more! Enjoy the new year, Quakers 🙂
Typically, my blog posts are about the latest Penn Alumni Travel trip or our fantastic newly-released 2013 travel schedule. But this month, we’re between travel trips, and so I’ve decided instead to write about my first five months at the Sweeten Alumni House (not to worry travel fans. Look for an upcoming post about Italy and the Danube)!
I began this position in Penn Alumni Relations in April, and each month has brought about new and interesting alumni events and traditions. We are lucky to work in a building that’s centrally located–just across from College Hall and next to the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library. Here, alumni relations staff can really stay connected to the University and all of the great things that happen on campus. With my trusty camera phone, I’ve captured a few highlights from my first five months at Penn.
My first month at Penn and the hungry squirrels are already waiting to take my lunch. I captured this one as he was eyeing me from above on the patio behind Sweeten.
Alumni Weekend! I was quickly pulled into the festivities surrounding Alumni Weekend and Commencement. The campus was alive with graduating students and thousands of Penn alumni. If you’ve never attended a reunion weekend at Penn, you should consider coming next year (May 10-13, 2013). It’s a great time to see the campus, visit old friends, and learn about the many programs and opportunities that the university extends to alumni.
An alumnus plays the Sweeten Alumni House piano.
Time for food! A chef works hard to get hundreds of hamburgers ready for the class picnics.
With most students and alumni away this summer, several staff members had time to attend the Ivy+ Alumni Relations Conference at Dartmouth. Each year, the eight Ivy League Universities plus MIT and Stanford gather for this conference to share expertise, tips, and resources (for more on Ivy+, visit Casey Ryan’s blog post here). The conference rotates locations each year, and Penn will be next year’s host. I spent my time at the conference meeting other alumni travel directors and getting insider’s tips on how to run an exceptional alumni travel program.
Dartmouth’s beautiful Rauner Special Collections Library. Do you see the Cat in the Hat peaking from inside the closed stacks?
In July, I hosted my first alumni tour. I spent 10 days with 16 wonderful alumni and friends in Tanzania. We visited four national parks and saw countless African animals. Look for another African safari in 2013 to Tanzania and Kenya.
Ngorongoro Crater lion
In my fifth month at Penn, I began a new workout routine: a 3 mile run from Sweeten to my South Philadelphia home. Along the way, I ran across (literally and figuratively) some of the beautiful Philadelphia landmarks that surround Penn’s campus.
The South Street Bridge at dusk. Did you know that the bridge lights up at night?
So there you have it! My first five months as a Penn employee. I look forward to the new things these next five months will bring. When you finish reading this, take a minute and share with us those things that caught your attention when you first visited Penn—as a student, employee, faculty member, or native Philadelphian. There’s plenty of space in the comment section below!
In 2006, when I moved to Philly from Denver, I decided to sell my Subaru and see if I could get by without a car. I relied on SEPTA, Philly Car Share, and my two trusty bicycles for transportation. Since then, I’ve developed a new appreciation for what people do with bikes. This first picture is of a 1988 Pinarello Montello and is very similar to the bike I ride around town. A very average bike.
Cherry Red Pinarello
But then there is this guy.
Wash Cycle Laundry
He works for Wash Cycle Laundry, Philadelphia’s sustainable laundry and linen rental service. They haul tons of laundry every week using bicycles and trailers. Bilenky Cycle Works, (BCW) is a specialty bicycle shop in North Philly dedicated to making custom bicycles “one frame at a time.” They can make you a pizza delivery bike similar to this one if you want.
Pizza Delivery Bike by Bilenky Cycle Works
In October of 2010, BCW organized the first ever Philly Bike Expo, bringing together bicycle makers and enthusiasts from around the country. Here are a couple of my favorite photos from that event.
Wooden Bike Sculpture
Fixed Gear Display
Pink Cargo Bike
Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby display
The University of Pennsylvania has it’s own history with the bicycle. This photo, made available by the University Archives Digital Image Collection, was taken in 1914 in front of College Hall. I would like to see the woman in the white dress and big hat riding one of those bikes.
College Hall, 1914
And this was taken in 1963 in front of Annenberg Center.
Annenberg Center, 1963
This illustration is from the University Calendar, September 1905, and below it is a black and white drawing by Morton Livingston Schamberg, circa 1900.
University Calendar, Illustration, September 1905
Illustration by Morton Livingston Schamberg, 1900
And here is a photo I took today on campus.
Old and new, bicycles are a part of the Philadephia experience and life on campus. For more information about bicycling in Philadelphia, check out The Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia web site.
His stone face was larger than I’d imagined. His body lay flatter against the ground, and his pose and expression seemed more somber.
That was my first impression of the bowing prisoner as I stood before him today in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Upon arriving at the museum, I sought out this object in “The Dawn of Egyptian Art,” a special exhibition open until August 5, although he doesn’t normally reside in the Met, but instead much closer to home—at the Penn Museum.
In fact, this object, a door socket carved to resemble a captive, was exchanged for another Egyptian prisoner—a statue that is currently on display in the Penn Museum’s Upper Egyptian Gallery.
The Met’s prisoner kneels, arms clearly bound behind him, his face partially damaged in what may have been a ritual act of destruction. The statue dates to Dynasty 6 of the Old Kingdom and was made during the reign of Pepi II (ca. 2246-2152 BCE). The Penn Museum’s door socket is older, dating to the first or second Egyptian dynasties—between 3000 and 2675 BCE.
Nevertheless, both prisoners seem to evoke regret, elicit sympathy, and ultimately, inspire fear for their captors—the aim of the Egyptian pharaohs who ordered their creation.
There’s more information on the Penn Museum’s website here. You can also find a New York Times review of the exhibition with photo of the door socket here. Enjoy!
It is springtime and the local Farmers’ Markets in West Philadelphia are ready for business. On Wednesdays, the Farmers’ Market at University Square is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This market is conveniently located at 36th and Walnut streets outside of the Penn Bookstore.
On what is just a typical day of orientation and training at my office, we gather in the lobby for a roof tour. Now of course, going up to the roof does not sound like work, but part of my job is exposing our summer associates (interns) to Philadelphia. Considering I work in one of the great skyscrapers of the Philadelphia skyline, it is an amazing introduction. This will actually be my first trip. Seeing as after three years my ears finally stopped popping everyday on my commute to the 43rd floor, I’m a bit nervous. How much space do we really have up there? Why did I pick such a windy day? Is it easy to fall off the roof? Will I get everyone safely back?
We ride the freight elevator together to the top. Armed with cameras (including the old school disposable version), we are ready for this tour. And the view is absolutely spectacular.
As I walk around the roof, I’m greeted by a familiar sight.
Here from the roof, I have a new vantage point of the familiar landmarks – Huntsman Hall, High Rise East (now Harnwell), Franklin Field, Irvine Auditorium, and a pocket of trees (Locust Walk) in the middle of campus. Several other Penn alums are on the roof as well and we stand there pointing out buildings. While so many parts of the city have special meaning to me now, Penn is at the heart of all of it. After all, without Penn, I would have never made it to Philadelphia!
How does the song go? “Pave paradise and put up a parking lot?” Well, not at Penn. We took 24 acres of concrete and asphalt and transformed it into a vast urban park. New sporting fields and walking paths combine to create a lush oasis on the eastern boarder of campus, an oasis this Penn employee cannot wait to visit – regularly. I had the opportunity to take a tour of the still-under-construction park today and was thrilled with what I saw and learned. In addition to the vast amounts of new green grass and over 500 expertly-selected trees (thanks to our friends at the Morris Arboretum), the park has been constructed with sustainability and green land use in mind. Subterranean rain water collection cisterns will feed irrigation for the freshly planted trees and grasses, while accessible paths and access bridges allow easy admission to all members of the Penn community.
When I last wrote about Penn Park in April, the ground was still cold and the progress seemed sluggish. However, following my tour today I am very excited about the massive park that is literally coming out of the ground just a few strides from my office.
I invite you to come back to campus when Penn Park is complete in September, and take part in this beautiful redevelopment project that was built, in large part, because of generous alumni support. You can play tennis, bike around the park, or simply sit and daydream in the grass while enjoying a view of the beautiful Center City skyline. I promise you that Penn Park not disappoint.
If my mom had suggested to my 14-year-old self that it would be a good idea for me to spend the summer at venture capitalist camp at Wharton, I would have groaned, “Ugh, MOM!” and stomped back up to the roof to work on mytan sunburn. What is it with parents and their lack of understanding?
These days, when July rolls around on Penn’s campus, I am amazed at the go-getter high school students that infiltrate Locust Walk. It’s amazing to me that these kids have the ambition and the intellectual wherewithal to take advantage of their summer months further educating themselves and getting a leg up in advance of the college admission process.
When I was 14, I was thinking about three things: “When I will get my braces off?” “Do I have food stuck in my braces?” and, “What time do the ‘Hey, Dude’ reruns come on Nickelodeon in the afternoons? Am I too old to still be watching ‘Hey, Dude’?” I guess technically that was four things.
What’s really great about having all the high schoolers on campus is that the salad line at Houston Hall is so much shorter than during the regular school year, even when it’s shoulder-to-shoulder traffic down there. Remember when you were a teenager and could eat a steady diet of pizza, burritos and pasta without any consequences? Yeah, me neither. Enjoy your digestive freedom while it lasts, kids.
No salad for me ... not until I'm old like the Alumni Relations staff members.
I laugh in the face of grease and cheese!
For more information about Penn’s summer programs for high school students, check out this link.