Category Archives: yPenn

Penn Traditions: The Good, The Bad, and THE RED & THE BLUE!

Author: Nicole Svonavec GEd ‘09

Every college student takes part in traditions on their campus as part of a unifying undergraduate experience.  I’ve attended and worked at several colleges so far, and Penn’s traditions stand out for their uniqueness, mass appeal, and staying power.  Experiences like Hey Day, Spring Fling, and taking a photo with your boo at the LOVE statue, have stood the test of time.  Creative Class Boards, Penn Traditions students, and other student leaders are forming new traditions (shout out to Holifest!) every year.

On the other hand, some traditions have faded into history.  And let’s be real, I’m feeling okay about that.  While I love reminiscing with our Old Guard alumni about retired traditions from their Penn days, I see a few good reasons to keep these in the archives:

“The Bowl Fight”

Although these strapping young lads look quite happy in the photo (from 1905), The Bowl Fight stands as one of Penn’s most historic, but also most sketchy traditions.  I’m not sure which one of these students was elected to be shoved INSIDE that bowl by his peers, but I would cry seeing our fabulous freshmen and sophomore duking-it-out on College Green in present-day.  Final verdict: This tradition is one of Penn’s best (craziest) stories, but a happily retired one.

Photo courtesy of Collections of the University Archives and Records Center

Photo courtesy of Collections of the University Archives and Records Center

“The Poster Fight”

(Note how many of these old traditions include the word “fight.”  Thankfully the advent of Pottruck Gymnasium seems to have given students a more productive outlet for their pent-up energy).  1905 was a busy year for traditions, and The Poster Fight stands as another fine example of class rivalries at their best/most intense.  The poster below (located in Sweeten Alumni House – come visit!) shows how “no blow was too low” when asserting your eminence over other classes.  Hopefully they all hugged it out at the end of the day.

poster fight3

“Kissing the Boot”
Everyone loves a good freshman rite-of-passage, but the 1940s-50s tradition of kissing Ben Franklin’s boot outside of Weightman Hall strikes me as a bit unsanitary.  Good thing freshman carried this out in early fall, because kissing a metal boot in the winter seems like it could cause the same nightmare as getting your tongue stuck to the flagpole in elementary school (Note: this did NOT happen to me, whew).

Photo and facts courtesy of Collections of the University Archives and Records Center

Photo and facts courtesy of Collections of the University Archives and Records Center

The Penn Traditions program is currently working on a new event (to launch in fall 2014) aiming to teach current students about some of these hilarious/spirited/dangerous traditions of the past.  If you took part in a really fun tradition on campus during your time at Penn, email so we can include it in our event!

*Thanks to the Penn Archives and Under the Button for inspiring this post!


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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Campus Life, Historical, Memories of Penn, Nicole S., Traditions, Uncategorized, yPenn

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

Class of 2012 Celebrates One Year Reunion

Author:  Marvin Rocha

In Harvest Season Grill and Wine Bar’s backroom, a place that held a MarBar’s dance floor, 80 members from the class of 2012 converged for their first year reunion–a milestone for Penn as it was the first time that we’ve honored and celebrated this important milestone.  For decades, Penn has welcomed thousands of former students back to campus during Alumni Weekend, with a special invitation sent to those in reunion year.  The first reunion events included the yPenn Highball, Franklin Fest, Taste of Penn, the alumni parade of classes, and the signature class specific event at Harvest.

Members from the class of 2012 reconnected and walked away with a little piece of Penn in their pocket: the 1st reunion gift was a credit-card-sized bottle opener.


And here is the Class of 2012, carrying their class flag and Penn traditions banner with parade during Alumni Weekend 2013! We hope to carry this new Penn tradition ever onward.


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Filed under Alumni Weekend, Marvin R., Reunions, y-Penn, yPenn

Congratulations to the Class of 2013!

Authors:  Nicole Svonavec, GEd’09 and Marvin Rocha, C ’06

After a great Final Toast event on Wednesday, April 24, the Class of 2013, led by Class President Jon Youshaei, has officially passed the senior torch to the Class of 2014.  Pending the passing of final exams (fingers crossed!), we ecstatically welcome 2013 as our newest yPenn cohort!  Here’s a small taste of the fun, but click on the photos to link to all Final Toast pics:

Final Toast Tree Planting 2013

final toast 2013

We had a BLAST at the event, and we’re pumped that it’s only the first of many Senior Week festivities!   More information about Senior Week (including tickets to all ticketed events) will be available outside Sweeten Alumni House Monday-Wednesday (May 6-8) from 11AM – 3PM.

In the meantime, here’s the information about a few other Senior Week events we’re hosting:

yPenn Senior Leadership Reception
Monday, May 6
Hall of Flags
5:00 – 6:30 PM

Senior Resource Fair
Monday, May 6
Hall of Flags
6:30 – 8:00 PM

Association of Alumnae Wine & Cheese Reception
Tuesday, May 7
College Green
7:30 – 8:30 PM

We’ll close out Senior Week with an exclusive event on Friday, May 10.  What better way to welcome the Class of 2013 into the alumni realm than by throwing them a party!  We’re so excited to invite 2013 to their first official alumni event – the yPenn Highball!

yPenn Highball
Friday, May 10
Hall of Flags
9:00 PM – 12:00 AM

And to think we knew them when:


Some of our nearest and dearest members of the Class of 2013 at the end of their freshman year – my how far they’ve come!

We look forward to celebrating Senior Week and welcoming the Class of 2013 into our alumni family!

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Campus Life, Commencement, Marvin R., Nicole S., y-Penn, yPenn


Author: Lisa Marie Patzer

Tomorrow, April 24th, is Final Toast for the Class of 2013!  Final Toast, started by The Penn Traditions program in 2009, is a celebration for the seniors who are becoming Young Penn Alumni.  Follow @yPennAlumni on Twitter and Penn Alumni on Instagram to see live updates. Contribute your own photos with the hashtag #yPennFinalToast.

For inspiration, here are some photos from Final Toast 2012:

Seniors sporting Final Toast T-Shirts

Seniors sporting Final Toast t-shirts

There will be a lot of dancing.

There will be a lot of dancing.

More dancing and celebrating.

More dancing and celebrating.

Final Toast cups

Final Toast cups

Live music by talented students.

Live music by talented students.

Class of 2012 Tree planting.

Class of 2012 tree. Every year a new tree is dedicated at Final Toast.

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Filed under Campus Life, Lisa Marie Patzer, Traditions, Uncategorized, y-Penn, yPenn

yPenn in New York: An Insider’s Perspective

Authors: Marvin Rocha and Nicole Svonavec, GeD’09

Last month, yPenn launched its inaugural yPenn Speaker Series at The Penn Club of New York. The Speaker Series connected young alumni in the New York Area with CEO and Chairman of Travelers Companies, Trustee Jay Fishman (W’74 WG’74). The following is an excerpt from Jessica Trief’s write-up of the inaugural yPenn Speaker Series event.

On Monday night, I attended the yPenn Speaker Series at the Penn Club of New York with Jay Fishman, CEO and Chairman of The Travelers Companies.   I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout and appreciative of the value of the event and Mr. Fishman’s insights.

The event began with a cocktail reception on the 10th floor where we spent time catching up with fellow young alumni. Despite there being more than 40 people, the space felt intimate and there was ample opportunity to chat with Mr. Fishman. As expected, many of the alumni attending the event were financial professionals, but there was a surprising amount of diversity. I, for example, a young alumna who works at a brand consultancy was happy to connect with an ’06 alumna who started her own gorilla marketing company.

 When Mr. Fishman spoke to the group he provided great advice for us young alumni. He briefly discussed the economic state, but really focused on the essentials of professional development. He told us to keep our options open rather than narrowing them and specializing. He emphasized the importance of learning both how to receive and deliver feedback. He said the people you work with are even more important than where you work and you should always feel like you are learning. He recommended treating every project given to you, whether perceived as important or not, as an opportunity to demonstrate your ability and skills.  In addition he fielded questions from the group about Sheryl Sandberg’s most recent career advice, his daily responsibilities at Travelers and his involvement on many prestigious Boards.

Mr. Fishman was a strong start to this yPenn Speaker Series. He is truly an admirable leader.  He takes a long-term point of view calling financial performance a marathon, not a sprint. He takes few, but calculated risks and he hasn’t strayed from his strategy.  Forbes had an article about him called “Wall Street’s Honest Man” and said “he has nothing to hide.” In fact, he is a remarkable tale of straight-talking his way to success.”  He was truly inspiring, motivational and engaging.

jay fishman 3 11

 We look forward to expanding our yPenn Speaker Series programming soon.

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Events, Penn Club of New York, Penn Clubs, y-Penn, yPenn

Six Penn Roommates Live it Up in New York

Authors: Nicole Svonavec, GEd’09 and Marvin Rocha, C’06

If you were to walk into a SoHo apartment in New York City, you could very well find yourself re-writing the opening lines of MTV’s Real World to:

This is the true story…of six Penn alumni from the Class of 2012, who, picked to live in a house, launch careers in New York, and find out what happens when people stop being undergrads and start getting real…

That’s precisely what happened when Jordan Brown, Stephanie Chung, Triston Francis, Kesi Irvin, Juan Felipe Rendon, and Ned Shell —all members of the Class of 2012—moved into the NYC apartment they affectionately call the PennthouseAs with many apartments in New York, the group had to be aggressive in their search. “It was the Friday of Spring Fling last year when we decided to put down the deposit; a couple of us bussed up to NYC to check it out—a huge sacrifice of fling time! Those who didn’t go Skype’d in wearing tank tops from one of the high-rises” said Ned Shell, who graduated from Penn with a degree in International Relations.

One thing that came easy for the group was decorating. They opted for an enlarged picture of the six residents from graduation – mounted on a wall across from a giant Penn banner. Both of these Penn mementos greet the dozens of Penn alumni who have crashed with the roommates for weekends at a time. The Real World never felt quite as welcoming as this Penn home in the big city.

The roommates at graduate in 2012.

The roommates at graduation in 2012.

The roommates today in New York City.

The roommates today in New York City.


Filed under Marvin R., Nicole S., yPenn

yPenn – A Year in Review, And So Much to Look Forward To…

Authors: Nicole Svonavec and Marvin Rocha

Happy New Year!  In 2012, the yPenn program hosted events in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, DC, New York City, and of course TONS of fun right here on Penn’s campus and in our own City of Brotherly Love!  Check out our year in photo review on the yPenn website!  Here are some highlights:

NYC Arts & Wine at the American Folk Art Museum – 12.6.12

LA  Arts & Wine at The Vault – 1.26.12

Philly Alumni Weekend Highball in Philadelphia – 5.11.12

Philly Alumni Weekend Highball in Philadelphia – 5.11.12

DC Penn2You and yPenn Nightcap at Hotel Monaco – 11.13.12

DC Penn2You and yPenn Nightcap at Hotel Monaco – 11.13.12

New York City Arts & Wine at The American Folk Art Museum - 12.6.12

New York City Arts & Wine at The American Folk Art Museum – 12.6.12

In 2013, we can’t wait to visit even more young alumni around the globe! We’ve added yPenn nightcaps to many of our end-of-campaign celebrations (called Time to Shine). Here’s when we’ll be in your city in 2013:

April 19 – Philadelphia (Time to Shine kick-off celebration)
June 18 – Washington, DC
September 17 – New York City
September 25 – Boston
October 1 – Chicago
October 8 – Los Angeles
October 10 – San Francisco
November 13 – London

Don’t see your city here? No worries – the tour continues into 2014.  We can also help you host an event in your city – email us at  Until then!

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Filed under Marvin R., Nicole S., yPenn