Tag Archives: Regional Penn Clubs

Penn Cares with the Penn Club of Northern California

By Betty Huang, ENG’12, GEN’12, and Jenny Zhan, C’10, W’10

On Saturday, June 15th, we held our inaugural Penn Club of Northern California community service event with eight Penn alumni at the San Francisco Food Bank warehouse in the Potrero Hill neighborhood. The San Francisco Food Bank delivers 100,000 meals worth of food every day to senior and families in need, and relies on volunteers year-round to help package and distribute the resources. Our Penn Cares volunteers spent three hours that Saturday afternoon manning the apple juice table – that is, we were responsible for filling each food donation box with two bottles of apple juice. Packed additionally with cereal, canned fruit, and other pantry staples, these boxes would go out to the 11,000 low-income seniors in San Francisco, where approximately one in four seniors live at the risk of hunger.

NorCal Penn Cares 1

We were blown away by the efficiency of the Food Bank staff in directing all the volunteers, for many of whom this was a first-time experience at the warehouse. We all gathered around an assembly line in an orderly fashion, and worked at such a rapid pace that we had to constantly switch positions because our arms would get sore (lifting bottles of apple juices was quite a workout)! Nevertheless, everybody had a great time, and our three-hour shift passed by quickly as we all chatted away while multi-tasking on the packaging. Volunteers like us work in shifts to provide the Food Bank with the equivalent manpower of 70 full-time workers – this in turn allows the Food Bank to save on salaries and turn 96% of all donations directly to their programs. At the end of our shift, we were asked to guess how many food boxes we had packaged – we were all astonished to hear that together with the other volunteers, we had packed exactly 1,377 boxes in three hours, helping 1,377 seniors for one entire month – It was such an instant gratification knowing that each box we packed would go to one senior and alleviate some of his or her food security-related stress for the next month!

NorCal Penn Cares 2

If you live in the San Francisco area, we encourage you to join the Penn Club of Northern California, and sign up for their free email newsletter to be notified of other Penn Cares events. www.ncpennclub.com

NorCal Penn Cares 3

NorCal Penn Cares 4


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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Alumni Programming, Clubs, Events, GAN, Guest blogger, Uncategorized, Volunteering, West Coast Regional Office

It’s #PennTimeToShine

By Kiera Reilly, C’93  @KieraReilly

Did You Know…that Penn’s Making History campaign celebration, Time to Shine, is tomorrow? Over 14,000 alumni, students, faculty, staff and guests will celebrate on Penn Park with headlining acts Train and John Legend, C’99. The event is free, but registration closes at noon EDT tomorrow, April 19th. Register here. The show will go on, rain or shine. Please note backpacks and umbrellas will not be allowed in Penn Park.

Read the article in The Daily Pennsylvanian today about the event.

During the event, screens around the park will showcase your Instagram photos with the #PennTimetoShine hashtag. Can’t make the event? Share your Penn Pride with us – post your photo of you and your friends or your clubs on Instagram (wearing your Penn gear) with the hashtag #PennTimetoShine and you’ll be featured during the celebration (and of course you can follow along on Instagram and twitter too).

The Regional Clubs team already got into the spirit:

Penn Alumni Regional Clubs director Tara Davies' post.

Penn Alumni Regional Clubs director Tara Davies’ post. L-R: Molly Rand, Marge Tinsley, Laura Foltman, Tara Davies, Kiera Reilly and Casey Ryan (not pictured: Denise Bowden).



Casey Ryan, C'95, post. Follow Casey on Instagram @IrishWombat

Casey Ryan, C’95, post. Follow Casey on Instagram @IrishWombat

Kiera Reilly, C'93, post. Follow Kiera on Instagram @KieraReilly

Kiera Reilly, C’93, post. Follow Kiera on Instagram @KieraReilly

Please like our photos on Instagram!

Penn Alumni (PennAlumni)

University of Pennsylvania (UofPenn)

Penn Alumni Regional Clubs team:

Tara Davies (TaraAnnDavies)

Kiera Reilly, C’93 (KieraReilly)

Casey Ryan, C’95 (IrishWombat)



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Filed under Campaign, Casey R., GAN, Kiera R., Making History, Molly Rand, Penn Clubs, Photos, Social Networking, West Coast Regional Office

Penn Club of Utah Fourth Annual Day of Service

Author: Art Warsoff, W’83

The Penn Alumni Club of Utah had their Fourth Annual Day of Service on February 23rd. Each year, we donate canned goods and help sort food at the Utah Food Bank followed by a networking lunch at Red Iguana, our favorite Mexican restaurant in the city. Other Ivy League and East Coast alumni clubs are invited to this annual tradition. This year, the Diplomats of Franklin & Marshall again joined the Quakers for a fun event. Everyone looks forward to this great tradition.

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Utah IMG_1395

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Hurrah, Hurrah, Penn Club of Utah! Thank you for your service!

Submitted by Kiera Reilly, C’93

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Penn Serves LA: Finding our Inner Artists at Inner-City Arts

Inner City photo 1 v2

More than 70 local Penn alumni and family members turned out in force on the last Saturday in January to work alongside the children of Commonwealth Avenue Elementary School at Penn Serves LA’s third “sold out” community service event. Volunteers and children were asked to make their own shadow puppets and perform in a show featuring storytelling and world music. Famous children stories from around the world were acted out by the participants. Using black paper cardstock paper, tissue paper, and bamboo rods, volunteers were taught the ancient art form of shadow puppets. The first use of shadow puppets were believed to have been 2,000 years ago in China to entertain the Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty.

The event was held at Inner-City Arts, a nonprofit art center located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Inner-City Arts helps underserved children and teens engage in a process of self-discovery through art. The center serves at-risk youth from all over Los Angeles to give the opportunity for arts education both in their schools and at the center.

The award-winning contemporary building, designed by Michael Maltzan and Nancy Goslee Power, provides an inviting, open, and free environment for safe exploration, creativity, designing, growing and learning.

Inner-City Arts Campus in Downtown Los Angeles

Inner-City Arts Campus in Downtown Los Angeles

“We are so thrilled to expose Penn alumni to Inner-City Arts,” shares Denise Winner, W’83, one of Penn Serves LA directors. “For future events we would love to get more alumni to nominate their favorite nonprofits who could use a group of dedicated volunteers for a day event.”

“We founded this group to give our time to needy communities and to expose them to the talent that Penn alumni can offer their organizations. Serving together as alumni is just an added plus,” shares Leanne Huebner, another Penn Serves LA director. “Our hope is that some participants volunteer more often with the selected nonprofits if they so desire.”

Penn Serves LA’s fourth event, on Saturday, March 9th, is already SOLD OUT. The group is volunteering to renovate a home for a family in need through Habitat for Humanity. The event is being co-sponsored by the Southern California Regional Advisory Board (SCRAB), Wharton Club of Southern California, and PennClubLA.

Children enjoy the excitement of their work displayed.

Children enjoy the excitement of their work displayed.

Families, Children and Alumni show off their puppets.

Families, Children and Alumni show off their puppets.

Are you active in community service? Want to get your favorite nonprofit involved? If you have a nonprofit in mind for a future Penn Serves LA event, let us know. Our initiative provides alumni with the unique opportunity to showcase their favorite charitable organization. Send us an email at pennservesla@gmail.com with your name and Penn affiliation, the organization you would like us to serve, why you got involved and how Penn Serves might help.

 Penn Serves LA is an initiative to encourage Penn alumni, parents and family across all schools and all years to come together and serve those in need through established nonprofits working in underserved communities. Children and spouses of alumni and parents of current students are also invited to participate (please check age requirements). Penn Serves LA is regularly scheduling service events throughout the year. You can read about our first event at Turning Point Shelter in Santa Monica, and our second event at the Midnight Mission. Penn Serves LA is working in partnership with PennClubLA, Wharton Club of Southern California, and SCRAB.


Filed under Alumni Perspective, Alumni Programming, Clubs, Events, GAN, Guest blogger, Los Angeles, Penn Clubs, Penn Serves LA, Photos, Volunteering, West Coast Regional Office

A Toast to Penn in Northern California

By Kiera Reilly, C’93  @KieraReilly

Schlein grapes.
Photo by Helaine Kaplan Prentice, CW’71, PAR’07, and Blair Prentice, PAR’07.

A few weekends ago, I traveled one bright sunny Saturday afternoon to the wine country north of San Francisco. There, the Penn Club of Northern California hosted a wine tasting made possible by the generosity of Phil “Spike” Schlein, C’57.

Penn Club of Northern California board members Phil Crosby, C’92, his daughter Shannon, and Beth Topor, W’80, welcome alumni and friends to Schlein Vineyards.
Photo by Kiera Reilly.

Spike opened his family vineyards and gardens in Oakville, Napa Valley, for touring and a wine tasting. The Schlein family (Spike’s children Kathy, C’83, and Ted, C’86, are also alumni) honored the club with a similar event three years ago, and were happy to welcome local alumni again.

The Schlein vineyards.
Photo by Kiera Reilly

Spike helped facilitate the wine tasting, and shared his story of becoming a winemaker, and the history of the vineyards that he’s owned for over thirty years. Everyone enjoyed the garden setting and delicious lunch buffet. Beth Topor, W’80, vice president of membership and communications for the club, shared information about upcoming events, and club co-president Tom Eliaz, ENG’02, encouraged alumni to share their ideas for future events and to get involved with activity planning. Alexandra Feinson, C’11, undergraduate admissions counselor for Northern California, attended and spoke to the group about Penn admissions. After lunch, Spike led everyone through a tour of the vineyards.

Photo by Kiera Reilly.

Photo by Kiera Reilly.

Alumni enjoying lunch and conversation.
Photo by Helaine Kaplan Prentice, CW’71, PAR’07, and Blair Prentice, PAR’07.

Club board member Phil Crosby, C’92, and his daughters Kate and Shannon give away Penn goodies.
Photo by Kiera Reilly.

The Penn Club of Northern California thanks Phil Schlein for opening up his winery and all the alumni who attended and contributed to our Club Book Scholarship Program. They raised $1,855 and with Phil’s generosity providing the food and beverages, 100% of the proceeds goes to scholarships for local Penn students! We also thank Arthur and Lindsay, two of their past scholarship recipients who spoke on the value of your donations. If you were unable to attend the event and would like to contribute to scholarships, click here, every dollar helps!

Phil “Spike” Schlein, C’57, toasts the group and Penn.
Photo by Helaine Kaplan Prentice, CW’71, PAR’07, and Blair Prentice, PAR’07.

Photo by Helaine Kaplan Prentice, CW’71, PAR’07, and Blair Prentice, PAR’07.

Phil “Spike” Schlein, C’57, leads a tour of his vineyards.
Photo by Helaine Kaplan Prencie, CW’71, PAR’07, and Blair Prentice, PAR’07.

Enjoying the vineyards.
Photo by Helaine Kaplan Prentice, CW’71, PAR’07, and Blair Prentice, PAR’07.

What a treat to enjoy a relaxing afternoon in a beautiful setting and enjoy the conversation of fellow alumni.

Here’s a toast to Penn! And a toast to Phil Schlein!

Hurrah, Hurrah!

Penn Club of Northern California board members thank Phil Schlein for hosting the club.
L-R: Phil Crosby, C’92, Beth Topor, W’80, Phil Schlein, C’57, Carine Blanchet, C’92, Tom Eliaz, ENG’02.
Photo by Kiera Reilly.

Click here to join the Penn Club of Northern California, sign up for their email newsletter and get involved with the club. You can also find the club on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @NCPennClub.

For more information on Schlein Vineyards, click here.

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Penn Serves LA: The Midnight Mission

One Volunteer’s Perspective from Inside the Kitchen Looking Out and Up:  Penn Serves LA: the Midnight Mission

By Leanne Huebner, W’90

Frankly speaking, I was quite unsure what to expect as we approached the Skid Row address of the Midnight Mission for our second Penn Serves LA Event. My ten-year old son John and I joined 15 other local Los Angeles Penn alumni at the Mission to serve lunch to the homeless. Penn Serves is a new initiative to encourage various Los Angeles alumni to serve together in community service activities at established local nonprofits. The downtown-based Midnight Mission is the longest continuously operating nonprofit in Los Angeles serving the homeless. While I knew it would be an interesting experience, little did I know how much I would observe in just a few short hours.

Justin Gordon, W’05, Snehit Neenakri, GEN’09, Terry Baris, C’84, Irene Park, C’05, Christopher Regan, Trisha Fowler, C’89, Cheryl Miller, Ian Davis, Alexa Ebner, Elizabeth Kopple, C’94, WG’99, Denise Winner, W’83, Leanne Huebner, W’90, John Huebner and more all serve.

Our team was first greeted by an articulate, middle-aged man named Ryan, who would serve as our tour guide. Ryan first showed us the outdoor courtyard (no larger than 40 feet by 80 feet), where more than 100 homeless sleep each night literally head to toe. Some individuals have been sleeping there consistently since the courtyard’s opening in 2005. Our guide shared that some homeless are steadfastly resistant to accepting help of any kind and how it is an accomplishment in itself just to get the homeless to sleep in this enclosed courtyard with its heated lamps and security. Ryan understood the mentality of this population as he then shares details of his own recent stint with homelessness as a heroin addict. Thanks to the Mission and its programs, he is now on his way to living a clean, healthy life and hopefully reconnecting with his 6-year old daughter.

Ryan informs us of the root causes of homelessness. Of the 51,000 homeless in L.A. County, the Mission has found that roughly one third of them suffer from mostly-untreated mental health problems, while another third have abused alcohol or drugs. The final third have simply fallen on hard economic times. Centers like the Mission look to help in any way it can serve this population. Currently, the Midnight Mission is serving about 90,000 meals a month, its highest rate since the Great Depression.

Next stop was the Multipurpose Room where approximately 200 people sat on metal folding chairs with eyes pinned on two 30’ inch television screens. Minus the sound of the TVs, you could hear a pin drop but I discounted that observation as a huge interest in the particular program. We then pass by their small barber shop where volunteer beauticians regularly offer free haircuts and their small library where the homeless can feel comfortable checking out books. Next, we visit their gym where the residents of the Mission are required to participate in physical education regularly. Here, residents play league basketball against corporate teams and the L.A.P.D.

After the tour, we head off to work, as the lines were forming outside for entrance. We are told to expect to serve 700-800 meals over the next hour or so. The sheer amount of meals served is always larger at the end of the month, because many of the homeless’ SSI and disability payments would have been depleted by now. Ryan shares that 64% of the homeless whom qualify for government assistance do not actually receive it.

Ian Davis, Snehit Neenakri, and Christopher Regan preparing tomato sauce.

Penn alumni, now costumed in hair nets, latex gloves and aprons, head off to man the cafeteria line for an inviting meal of beef macaroni, corn, salad, yogurt, and bread. My son John and I head with a few other alumni inside the kitchen to open up hundreds of tomato sauce and Snapple cans. John finds his nitch dumping Snapple in a large pot next to another kitchen helper, who later compliments him for working hard.

10-year old John Huebner finds his job.

Restless, I meandered over to check out the front line. The line for food was long, straight and orderly with at least 100 people waiting every time I peeked. Several would re-enter the line for seconds and thirds. My normally cheery self just wanted to smile at each to offer a bit of joy but very few would even make the eye contact to accept the warm gesture. Only one in ten actually even spoke, one volunteer calculated. Several just pointed and grunted to where they wanted the food placed. The room was somber.

The lunch line staffed by Penn Alumni.

Shifting from kitchen to the line, I again noticed more lack of talking and interacting as the homeless stood in line, gathered their food and poured over their free meal. How could a few hundred people be in a room “enjoying” a meal with little to no conversation? I was comparing the noise level to that of my sons’ school cafeteria – which is quite loud despite being half this room’s size. The lack of conversation and camaraderie reflected the fact that these people are in survival and existence mode; perhaps they just didn’t want to connect even with each other. The streets are tough places to live; I suspect there are many social norms that would differ greatly from mainstream society. Perhaps, silence is one of those norms. Why draw attention to yourself when, according to one study, nearly 43% of homeless suffer from physical attacks using a weapon?

My personal highlight was interacting with a team with the men working inside the kitchen. Each kitchen helper was currently living in the Mission and this job was part of their path out of homelessness. Midnight Mission has a 12-step program to self-sufficiency, and I could feel the power of the program working right there at that moment. These kitchen workers were noticeably happier, with the value of having work for their hands that day. We joked over the hamburger sliders donated from a “fancy restaurant” as we contemplated why they called them “sliders” in the first place. One worker shared how he looked forward to finishing the program and hoped to find a job in food service. The head kitchen worker joked that he wanted to be in our photos and how he wants us to come back again.   In the brief time I was there, all of these residents were respectful, hardworking, and very appropriately funny. You could tell they enjoyed each other’s company and were grateful for the extra hands from us.

As part of their contract with the Mission, each resident agrees to be clean of drugs and alcohol, work at the Mission, and complete the 12-step program. When appropriate, some even pay a $200 rent in apartments at the Mission as residents prepare for the outside world. “Let’s make no bones about it.  This program is rehab. It is not fancy Hollywood-like or Malibu-beautiful, but that is what it is. And this is the last stop for these guys,” shares Ryan, “They either make it or they don’t.”

The stark difference between the men preparing the food (all formerly homeless) and those on the other receiving line was quite remarkable and noteworthy to me. From my novice eye, the difference seemed to be the hope for the future and the knowledge they now were on the path made possible by the privately-funded Mission. Perhaps the difference also was the fact that inside the kitchen the men had purpose – soup to stir in large vats, large metal trays to wash, plastic cups to fill and extra napkins to find. By the time lunch was finished and the alums prepared to leave, the kitchen staff was already planning and talking about the dinner responsibilities.

My fellow volunteers and I shared that we couldn’t help but thinking our own problems paled in comparison to those of the individuals we fed and met that day. The average stay inside Midnight Mission is 18 months, whereby approximately two men graduate each week, or roughly 100 men a year. Seeing the difference between those within the kitchen and those accepting the food demonstrated to me the power of intervention programming. The Mission is and has always been funded 100% by private foundations and individuals. If only we had more Midnight Missions in the world.

Thank you to all the Penn Serves volunteers for the Midnight Mission. We hope you will serve again for the next event. Thank you to Denise Winner for arranging our group’s participation at Midnight Mission for Penn Serves LA.  Contact pennservesla@gmail.com for future events or if you want to get more involved. 

To read the post about the first Penn Serves LA event, at Turning Point Shelter in Santa Monica, click here.


Filed under Alumni Perspective, Alumni Programming, Clubs, GAN, Guest blogger, Penn Clubs, Photos, Volunteering, West Coast Regional Office

Penn Clubs Welcome Class of 2016

By Kiera Reilly, C’93  @KieraReilly

This week, Penn’s Class of 2016 is arriving on campus and moving into their dorms, meeting their roommates and hall mates, and exploring all that Penn has to offer. Before they made their way to Philadelphia though, many Penn Alumni Clubs around the world welcomed them to the Penn family and celebrated them at summer student send-offs. Here is a sampling of some of the west coast celebrations.

San Diego

Penn Club of San Diego president Robby Koeppel Foss, C’92, GED’92, writes, “It was exciting to meet so many talented new students! The families and students enjoyed hearing more about Philadelphia and our helpful hints for moving to the East Coast and Penn favorites. The San Diego Alumni that spoke: Gina Tapper, Troy Morrison and Jaleisha Jacobs gave great perspective on their different experiences. I just loved giving out, Philly style cheese steaks, Tastykakes and Soft Philly style pretzels to local San Diego natives who never had tried them!! I was grateful to the Philadelphia Tourism Board and Campus Philly for sending me helpful guides to hand out to the families!”

Introducing San Diego students to Philly soft pretzels.

New Penn students in San Diego were also treated to TastyKakes.

Penn Class of 2016 students from San Diego

Orange County

In Orange County, CA, local alumnus Alfio Rossetti W’01, hosted students and their families at his family’s restaurant Roma d’Italia in Tustin in a now annual gathering organized by the Penn Club of Orange County.

Delicious Italian fare at the OC gathering at Roma d’Italia.

Students mingling and meeting each other at the Orange County send-off event.


In Washington, the Pugent Sound Penn Alumni Interview Program hosted a dinner for students and parents at the home of Janie and Raymond Lee, PAR’14, in July.

Co-chair of the Puget Sound Penn Alumni Interview Program David Blum, W’74, writes, “These freshmen were excited to meet each other, along with several Washington upperclassmen, and to learn more about undergraduate life at Penn. Students from Washington are excited to leave soon for Philadelphia. The weather was beautiful and everyone enjoyed themselves!”


In Washington, there was a red and blue cake.

Puget Sound Penn Alumni Interview Program co-chairs Bill Winkelman, C’83, WG’90, PAR’15, Deborah Garber, W’09, Belinda Buscher, C’92, and David Blum, W’74

Penn Class of 2016 from Washington State!


And in Portland, John Vosmek, C’61, president of the Penn Club of Portland shared these photos from the Penn Club of Portland 2012 Summer Lawn Party (and New-Student Send-off) at the home of Taizoon, EE’83, and Munira Doctor. Four of the area’s eight members of the Class of 2016 and three members of the Class of 2015 joined alumni, parents and friends on a typically beautiful Oregon summer evening.

Panoramic view of the Penn Club of Portland Summer Lawn Party


Penn students from the Portland area: left to right, front: Vidushi Bhargava, Eng.’15, Catherine Yee, Eng ’16, Arthur Halin C’16
rear: Hanna Seminario, C’16, Alex Lyons, Eng ’15, Andy Liu, Eng ’15, Eric Chang, Eng ’16


This is just a sampling of the many freshman welcome events that took place all over the world this summer. While their students are at Penn, Penn Parents are welcome to join our regional Penn Clubs – and we hope in four years the Class of 2016 will join their local Penn Club and continue this tradition.

Find out more about our regional Penn Alumni Clubs here: http://www.alumni.upenn.edu/club/index.html

For our most recent alumni, join your local Penn Club and attend a First September event welcoming the Class of 2012 in your town: http://www.alumni.upenn.edu/club/firstseptember/index2012.html

Follow our Penn Clubs on Twitter!

Penn Club of Orange County: @PennClubOC

Penn Club of San Diego: @PennClubSD


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Penn Serves LA

Author:  Kiera Reilly, C’93  (@KieraReilly)

Penn Serves LA’s first event at the Turning Point Shelter in Santa Monica, CA.

On Saturday June 9, Penn Serves LA hosted its first successful volunteer event. More than 20 Penn alumni and friends were on hand to serve dinner with dignity to the 55 residents of Turning Point Shelter in Santa Monica. Volunteers brought chicken, salad, dessert, decorations and more to prepare this memorable meal.

“We are thrilled that first event exceeded our expectations of interest from Los Angeles Penn alumni and their families,” shares Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16, a founding member of the Penn Serves LA Committee. Jane, along with Denise Winner, W’83, Leanne Huebner, W’90, Aileen Level, C’99, GSEd’00, and others, have been putting their various nonprofit experiences and connections together to get Penn Serves LA together and running.

Penn alumni helping in the kitchen.

Making lunches for the Turning Point residents.

In these difficult economic times, many succumb to homelessness due to job loss and these shelters are key to getting them back on their feet. According the Institute for the Study of Homelessness and Poverty at the Weingart Center, an estimated 254,000 men, women and children experience homelessness in Los Angeles County during some part of the year and approximately 82,000 people are homeless on any given night. Interestingly, 32% of LA’s homeless have bachelors’ degrees (compared to 45% of the overall population) and 41% have worked in the previous year.

PennClubLA’s Snehit Neenakri, GEN’09, and Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’ 14, PAR’16.

The Penn Serves LA goal is to volunteer our services as Penn alumni, parents and family to contribute to needy nonprofits in our community. Penn Serves LA is regularly scheduling service events whereby Quakers can proudly work together to service the Los Angeles community.   We are working in partnership with PennClubLA, Wharton Club of Southern California, and the Southern California Regional Advisory Board.

Serving food from the kitchen.

The next Penn Serves LA event is September 22 The group will serve lunch at The Midnight Mission. More details will be available soon, and the event will be promoted via emails and through the local Penn and Wharton clubs.

The Penn Serves LA committee is seeking more LA-based alumni, parents and students to support our initiative. If you have interest in learning more, or in joining us on September 22, please contact pennserves@gmail.com.

All photos (c) Kiera Reilly.


Filed under Alumni Perspective, Alumni Programming, Clubs, Events, GAN, Kiera R., Penn Clubs, Penn Serves LA, Photos, Volunteering, West Coast Regional Office

Time to eat the Doughnuts!

by Kiera Reilly, C’93  @KieraReilly

This week I traveled to Seattle and Portland to visit our Penn Alumni Clubs in each city. While there, I was able to visit and taste some of the best doughnuts in the country – as so deemed by Travel + Leisure. It turns out, T+L thinks many of the country’s best donuts (doughnuts) are on the West Coast. I’ll do my best to report back in the coming months as I’m able to sample them!

On Monday, while in town to meet with the Penn Club of Seattle board, I first took a morning walk to Top Pot Doughnuts and sampled the old fashioned. Top Pot has several locations around Seattle, but I wanted to visit the original storefront. While I enjoyed the doughnut, there was a little too much glaze for my taste. Click here to see what T+L liked.

Seattle’s Top Pot Doughnuts

The Old Fashioned and a cappuccino at Top Pot.

For lunch, after an obligatory stop at Starbucks, I met with Kristine Tan Wright ’94, Belinda Bentzen Buscher ’92 and David Blum. We discussed the club’s upcoming incoming student send-off , plans for bringing a faculty member to the club in the coming year, and of course, the dreary weather (it is Seattle!).

Meeting with the Penn Club of Seattle – David Blum, Kristine Wright and Belinda Buscher.

Before driving to Portland, I made a super quick stop at another Seattle “best of” doughnut location – Mighty-O Donuts. North of downtown, also in a residential neighborhood, Mighty-Os are organic and vegan, but oh they are good. Crisp and crunchy on the outside, and a delicious not too sweet cake on the inside, I have to say, these are some of the best doughnuts I’ve ever had. Here is why T+L liked Mighty-O.

Seattle’s Mighty-O Doughnuts

Some of the unique doughnuts at Mighty-Os.

In Portland on Tuesday morning, it was time again for stretching my legs…and stopping by Voodoo Doughnuts, where they say, “the magic is in the hole.” I had visited Voodoo before and loved their maple bacon doughnut (2 whole pieces of bacon on each one). This time I tried a Portland Cream and chocolate. Mmmmmmmm…. Click here to see what T+L had to say.

Portland’s Voodoo Doughnuts – the Magic is in the Hole.

Inside Voodoo Doughnuts

The menu at Voodoo.

Display case showing the interesting toppings at Voodoo.

At lunch, the Penn Club of Portland welcomed Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor Jonathan Moreno for a presentation and interactive discussion with alumni, parents and local friends. Everyone enjoyed his talk and is looking forward to the club’s annual Summer Lawn Party where new students and their families are welcomed to the Penn family.

Penn Professor Jonathan Moreno speaks to the Penn Club of Portland.

I always enjoy visiting our alumni clubs in the Pacific Northwest, but when I’m able to have a few free minutes to sample some local goodies, it makes the trip extra special! I encourage alumni in Portland and Seattle to grab some doughnuts and then call or email the local alumni clubs and stay engaged with Penn! Do you have a favorite doughnut spot? I hope to visit more best donuts soon – and report back!


Filed under Clubs, GAN, Kiera R., Penn Clubs, Photos, West Coast Regional Office

Penn Alumni Club of Philadelphia’s New Facebook Page

Author: Stephanie Yee, C’08

The Penn Alumni Club of Philadelphia recently decided to switch from a Facebook group to a page. I remember when Facebook first started Groups. They were only open to members in the same network, and there was no such thing as “liking.” I was a member of groups such as “John Doe’s Fan Club,” “Penn 08,” and “I went to public school….” I have no idea why John Doe had a Facebook group devoted to him, or why we were talking about public school, but it was cool. When I moved to Penn, I created a group for Penn students from Nevada, so I could meet everyone else from my state. I’m pretty sure there were only 15 of us in the group. Our group photo was the Nevada state flag. Oh, and be sure to pronounce Nevada correctly.

Fast forward several years and groups are a thing of the past. Pages are all the rage. Facebook has changed a lot since I joined in 2004, but I do like the new cover photo feature. Who can resist this awesome photo of Ben on the Bench? Like the Penn Alumni Club of Philadelphia here!


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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Clubs, GAN, Penn Clubs, Philadelphia, Social Networking, Stephanie Y.