Under a white tent as the evening sun began to set, returning sophomores and juniors at the University of Pennsylvania gathered on College Green for the annual welcome back picnic on Aug. 28.
The event drew a record crowd of more than 1,250 sophomores and juniors back on campus. Members who had not yet had a chance to sign the official banners for the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 made their mark as did President Amy Gutmann, who was on hand to greet students.
Sophomore Class Board President Elizabeth “Lizzie” Youshaei and Junior Class Board President Karim El Sewedy were also on hand to welcome sophomores and juniors back to Penn.
A photo booth allowed students to explore the sophomore experience from both sides—looking back and looking forward. Students were invited to write down the “Best Thing of my Sophomore Year?” and “#1 Goal for this year.” Many agreed that friends were what they missed most over the summer and what they found to be the most memorable aspect of student life.
Youshaei, who is from Highland Park, Ill., and lives in Harnwell College House, says, “Freshman year is special because everything is new and exciting, but sophomore year is better because it’s the time where we find depth rather than breadth. We solidify the communities we have on campus, find greater comfort in the friends we’ve made, and dive further into the subjects we are passionate about. I’m excited to lean into my classes, friendships, and passions this year.”
Junior Michelle Kim, a member of the Class Board from Seoul, Korea, who lives in Harrison College House, says one the best things to come out of her sophomore year was, “Joining AKPsi, the business fraternity, gave me a new family of friends.”
Junior Alex Silberzweig, from New York City, gathered with friends from Rodin College House to celebrate the new academic year. A transfer student, Silberzweig says, “Convocation was one of my most special memories from last year.”
El Sewedy, who is from Cairo and now lives off campus, says, “As a sophomore I was able to meet lots of new people, as I was introduced by friends of friends. It was the smaller events like hanging out on College Green after class or exams or the Friendsgiving Dinner organized by the Sophomore Class Board and Penn Traditions that I remember. “
The theme of this year’s sophomore and junior picnic: looking at the sophomore student experience was aimed at giving a shout out to the unique sophomore year. As the year gets off and running, the Sophomore College Board is continuing to work with New Student Orientation & Academic Initiatives to develop additional sophomore class events as part of the second year experience.
Click here to view more photos from the picnic.
Source: Penn Today