Alternate Rush offers a different social scene
The Penn Intentional Community Network introduced its first Alternate Spring Rush Friday
January 27, 2013, 5:50 pm·
The lights at the Penn Haven Housing Cooperative lit up the snow on Woodland Terrace Friday night, inviting guests inside to a warm atmosphere.
The Penn Intentional Community Network, a group comprising both Penn Haven and the Happy House — housing options that promote inclusion and creativity — was hosting their first Alternate Spring Rush. The network’s members consist of people who share similar values and choose to live “intentionally” together in community with each other.
Their Spring Rush was held so that the network could introduce the concept of intentional living to anyone interested.
One of Penn Haven’s founding members, College junior Penny Jennewein, described the co-op’s mission as well as its ideas on intentional living: “There are people who may feel isolated while everyone else is caught up in the pressure of the Greek system,” she said. “We want to create a space for people to live in a community without feeling any pressure, where our worth is in who we are.”
She explained from personal experience how the community they provide is distinct from other communities at Penn. Decisions are made democratically, not just by a single leader, and sexual safety is more clearly emphasized, she said, than in other communities.
With these people-centered objectives, the event kicked off in a relaxing atmosphere. The organizers gave consideration to details such as the volume of music and the lighting that would optimize conversation. Food catered from New Delhi came in large, covered trays, creating anticipation for dinner.
People arrived with friends or by themselves, and engaged in lively conversation with each other. Subjects ranged from areas of study to food preferences to other goings-on on campus.
Some of the people who attended had some prior experience with the Penn Intentional Network and were interested in getting more involved.
College freshman Lillian Austin recalled her experience with the Penn Haven.
“I attended a Thanksgiving dinner [hosted] by the Network last fall and enjoyed it,” she said. “I like how the group creates a different social atmosphere that’s welcoming.”
Other people had been only vaguely familiar with the Network or their activities, but attended the event just to meet new people and find out more.
Those who were already residents were excited about expanding and meeting the newcomers.
As Engineering sophomore Lauren Ballester, one of the event’s organizers, explained, “We want this to be a completely open party where everyone feels like being themselves is valuable, and we hope to be able spend some time getting to know new people.”
The evening progressed with warm conversation as all attendees got a real sense of just what living in the community would be like.
College freshman Clara Hendrickson, who had helped put on the event, summed up their intentions briefly.
“We are not interested in building social structures,” she said, “but in building human relationships.”