Student life at the University of Pennsylvania

Student life at the University of Pennsylvania

Student life at The University of Pennsylvania has many traditions. Performing arts groups include The University of Pennsylvania Band, one of the oldest scramble bands in the country; there are also numerous student-run theatre groups, including unique groups like the long-running Pennsylvania Players, the iNtuitons Experimental Theatre, and the Front Row Theatre Company. Singing groups include the a cappella jazz (Counterparts, the all-male Chord on Blues); the traditional PennSix; Pennchants; Off the Beat; Penn Masala—a Hindi group which has received global acclaim; and The University of Pennsylvania Glee Club and its small group, the Penn Pipers, founded in 1862, one of the oldest continually-performing collegiate performance group in the United States. Penn Singers is one of the premier collegiate Gilbert and Sullivan societies in the world, and remains under the direction of Bruce Montgomery, a leading figure in the Philadelphia performing community. Punch Bowl Humor Magazine is the oldest student-run magazine on campus, and is also the only humor magazine at Penn. The Philomathean Society, Penn's student literary society, was founded in 1813 and is the oldest continuously-existing collegiate literary society in the United States. Mask and Wig, founded in 1889, is the oldest all-male collegiate musical comedy troupe in the nation. Penn also has a substantial Fraternity and Sorority presence on campus. Penn Jazz, the university's only big-band jazz ensemble, has been playing on campus for over twenty years and has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Branford Marsalis, and other jazz icons.


Toast throwing

As a sign of school pride, crowds of Quaker fans perform a unique ritual. After the third quarter of football games, spirited onlookers unite in the singing of "Drink a Highball," which refers to the University's unofficial cocktail, the Pennsylvanian (cocktail). In years long past, students would literally make a toast with the drink to the success of Penn's athletic teams. During Prohibition, stubborn students insisted on keeping their tradition - since they could not use alcohol, they had no choice but to literally "toast" Penn. As the last line, "Here's a toast to dear old Penn," is sung, the fans send toast hurling through the air onto the sidelines. In another version of the origins of toast throwing, in 1977, a student threw the first slice of toast after being inspired while attending a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show where members of the audience throw toast at the screen. In more recent years, some students have become more creative in their choice of projectiles, and it is not rare to see a hail of bagels or donuts, or even a loaf of French bread come flying down from the stands. [ [ For The Record: Toast-Throwing Tradition] ]

The athletics department has purchased several industrial street sweepers built by Tenant Inc. The latest is a 6400 Rider Sweeper used for cleaning the concourses and track area of the stadium.Fact|date=February 2007 The sweeper is often called the "toast Zamboni". [ [ The Penn Current / November 13, 2003 / At Work With...Juan Torres ] ]

Econ Scream

At midnight on the eve of the first Microeconomics 001 midterm exam, hundreds of students (predominantly freshmen) try to release stress by participating in a collective shout on the Junior Balcony of the Lower Quadrangle. [ [ Wharton lingo] ; [ Wharton traditions] ]

Goal post tossing

In past years, the Penn Quakers have won the Ivy League championship, sending the jubilant fans into a frenzy. In celebration, the fans ripped down the goal posts and tossed them into the Schuylkill River. [ [ Pennsylvania Current: Point of View: Not the same Penn she entered ] ] This tradition has most likely ended, as the last attempt to tear down the goalposts failed in 2003 as a result of a concrete footing that made efforts to topple them futile.

Class Day and Hey Day

In April, several class traditions are celebrated. Class Day, which began in 1865 to supplement the final graduation exercises, celebrates the progression of all classes and the departure of the seniors. In 1916, this day merged with Straw Hat Day and became the "day of two events." In 1931, Hey Day arose from these two celebrations. On this day, the juniors gather on Hill Field for a picnic, don straw "skimmers" and canes, and march triumphantly through campus.

The procession tradition began in 1949. More recently, the straw skimmers have changed to styrofoam hats, and classmates take bites out of one another's hats until they fall apart. Within the last five years, it has become a tradition for the current senior class to "haze" the juniors while they march, pelting with a variety of food and condiments, including maple syrup, eggs, and flour. When the procession reaches College Hall, the students make an arch with their canes to greet the President of the University. The outgoing and incoming senior class presidents then give speeches, and the juniors are "officially" declared seniors. Due to injuries sustained during this tradition and the cost of cleaning the walk afterwards, the university has aimed to downplay the hazing for Hey Day but has been haplessly unsuccessful and has recently discussed cancelling the tradition outright. [cite web| url=|publisher=University Archives and Records Center, University of Pennsylvania| title=Hey Day - A Penn Student Tradition| accessdate=2006-06-28]

Ivy Day

One plants ivy by a building, and an "Ivy Stone" is placed on the building to commemorate the occasion. In 1981, the day was officially moved to the Saturday before Commencement. Also on this day, the prestigious Spoon, Bowl, Cane, and Spade awards, honoring four graduating men and the Hottel, Harnwell, Goddard, and Brownlee awards, honoring four graduating women, are presented. During the celebration, a noted individual who is chosen by the class gives an address. Recent Ivy Day addresses have been presented by Penn Parent Joan Rivers, former Philadelphia Mayor and current Governor of Pennsylvania (and also a Penn alumnus) Ed Rendell, and basketball player Julius Erving. The building receiving the Ivy Stone is very often a building of some significance to the graduating class. For example, in 1983, a stone was placed near the field in Franklin Field celebrating Penn's first Ivy League championship in football since 1959 the previous fall--at the yard line from which the game-winning field goal against Harvard was kicked, clinching at least a share of the championship. [cite web|url=| publisher=The Institute of Contemporary Art | title=ICA Ivy Stone Brochure| accessdate=2006-06-28]

"The Red and Blue"

Penn students have a school anthem, "The Red and Blue". This is not to be confused with the official alma mater of the university, "Hail, Pennsylvania!". Additionally, there is an unofficial variation of the song for use when playing against Brown University, in which every mentioning of a color is replaced with a drawn out, monotone "Brooown"

The Compass

The most popular meeting spot on campus. Penn freshmen avoid stepping over the tiled compass on the scenic Locust Walk before their first midterms. Supposedly, the compass serves to guide freshmen through their first year; stepping on it will put a student in danger of failing midterms. Supposedly, the only way to counter this bad luck is to have sex underneath the Button. (See below) []

The Button

It is an oft-proclaimed goal of Penn undergraduates to have sex underneath the Claes Oldenburg sculpture of a large split-button in front of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library sometime before they graduate. [ [] Dead link|date=March 2008]

pring Fling

Spring Fling is an annual festival for the students at the end of each Spring semester, usually beginning on the Friday of the second to last week of the semester and continuing until Saturday night. Fling, which began in 1973, is dubbed the largest college party on the East Coast. The event takes place on College Green, Wynn Commons, and The Quadrangle (or Quad) for a student body drenched in alcohol, for the most part. Over the past few years there has been legitimate discussion towards potentially moving the event out of the Quad, but improved behavior has resulted in the carnival aspect of the festival remaining in the Quad. College Green becomes a staging area for carnival games and carnival food. Two stages in the Quad host Penn's performing arts groups. Saturday night, Penn holds a festival on College Green, and Friday night SPEC (The Social Planning and Events Committee [] ) brings in a headlining musical act for a concert. Recent guests for this concert have included Wyclef Jean, Busta Rhymes, Sonic Youth, and Of A Revolution. [ [ SPEC :: Social Planning + Events Committee - The History of Fling ] ] The 2007 concert featured Ben Folds and Third Eye Blind. The 2008 concert was moved to Franklin Field since it featured a triple-bill of Ludacris, Gym Class Heroes, and OK Go. [ [ SPEC :: Social Planning + Events Committee ] ] . The event was founded by University of Pennsylvania alumnus, Robert Haft.

Feb Club

Feb Club is a tradition in which the members of the senior class attend a party or other special event every day for the entire month of February. Those with a perfect record of attendance have their name inscribed onto a Plaque in Smokey Joes Bar.

Walnut Walk

Taking advantage of Penn's location in the city of Philadelphia, members of the senior class embark on a day-long, city-wide pub crawl, starting at 2nd Street near the waterfront and moving westward along Walnut Street until participants arrive at Smokey Joe's on 40th Street, just south of Walnut.

Fraternity and Sorority Chapters

Interfraternity Council Chapters

* [ Alpha Chi Rho]
* [ Alpha Epsilon Pi]
* [ Alpha Tau Omega]
* [ Beta Theta Pi]
* [ Delta Kappa Epsilon]
* [ Delta Phi (St. Elmo)]
*Delta Psi (St. Anthony)
* [ Delta Tau Delta]
*Delta Upsilon
*Kappa Alpha Society
*Kappa Sigma
* [ Lambda Chi Alpha]
* [ Phi Delta Theta]
* [ Phi Kappa Psi]
* [ Phi Kappa Sigma]
*Phi Sigma Kappa
* [ Pi Kappa Alpha]
*Pi Kappa Phi
*Pi Lambda Phi
*Psi Upsilon
* [ Sigma Alpha Epsilon]
*Sigma Alpha Mu
*Sigma Chi
* [ Sigma Nu]
* [ Sigma Phi Epsilon]
*Sigma Pi
*Tau Epsilon Phi
*Theta Xi
*Zeta Beta Tau
*Zeta Psi

Panhellenic Council Chapters

*Alpha Chi Omega
*Alpha Phi
*Chi Omega
*Delta Delta Delta
*Kappa Alpha Theta
*Phi Sigma Sigma
*Sigma Delta Tau
*Sigma Kappa

Bicultural Inter-Greek Council Chapters

*Alpha Kappa Alpha
*Alpha Kappa Delta Phi
*Delta Sigma Theta
*Lambda Phi Epsilon
*Lambda Theta Alpha
*Lambda Upsilon Lambda
*Kappa Alpha Psi
*Omega Psi Phi
*Sigma Gamma Rho
*Sigma Lambda Upsilon
*Sigma Psi Zeta
*Zeta Phi Beta

Clubs and Student Groups

International Affairs Association

The International Affairs Association (IAA) is the second-largest student organization at the University of Pennsylvania and is a non-profit organization that promotes awareness of International Relations. The club, founded 45 years ago is composed as several semi-independent but centrally funded programs, which each promote awareness of international relations in different ways. It currently hosts two internationally-attended and -recognized Model United Nations conferences, [ UPMUNC] and the Ivy League Model United Nations Conference ( [ ILMUNC] ), in the fall and spring terms respectively. The IAA's Intercollegiate Model United Nations Team has firmly established itself as one of the best in the nation by winning the most competitive conferences. The IAA's internal publication, “The Ambassador,” published six times a year, keeps the club members informed and entertained.

ee also

*Philadelphia Big 5
*Ivy League


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