The Starbucks under 1920 Commons was transformed Thursday evening from a study area to a bustling scene of students and staff from the Office of Admissions writing postcards to 1,200 lucky admitted students.
Sponsored by the Penn Quaker Opportunity and Access Team and the Office of Admissions, the event was open to all current Penn students who wished to write postcards to a select group of underrepresented students admitted to the Class of 2017.
Quaker OATs is a campus organization that is comprised of representatives from the Kite & Key Society, Penn’s multicultural student groups and the Opportunity and Access staff of the Admissions Office.
According to Opportunity and Access Coordinator Camille Green, although this is the third year an event like this has taken place, this is the first time it’s been this publicized and open to the Penn community.
“Honestly, the kids in Quaker OATs said, ‘We remember getting a postcard, we really loved it, can we do this again and can we make it an event?’” Green said. “And I said, ‘Absolutely.’”
College sophomore Reginald Stewart, who is the Kite & Key coordinator in Quaker OATs, said that in the past because the event was barely publicized, the task would often fall to a few individuals to write “hundreds of postcards.”
This year, the task is more evenly divided.
The Office of Admissions also provided free Chipotle burritos to those in attendance. About 50 students were there writing and chatting.
According to Green, the approximately 1,200 students who will be receiving postcards are all underrepresented, either in terms of race, ethnicity, geography or major.
“These are going to be the students that will be hardest for us to yield because they’re going to get in everywhere they apply,” Green said.
Underrepresented majors, Green said, include cultural studies in the College such as Africana studies, East Asian languages and civilization and Hispanic studies.
Stewart, who helped organize the event, was happy with the turnout.
Stewart thinks it’s important that these postcards are sent, because, according to him, it adds a personal touch to an otherwise impersonal process.
“When I was a pre-frosh, I remember receiving a postcard,” Stewart said, “and just having a handwritten card from someone in my neighborhood who went to Penn definitely made the decision easier for me.”
College sophomore Jaelen Floyd wrote four postcards and was in the process of writing more. He said he “distinctly remembers” receiving his postcard, and even though he was already “pretty set” on going to Penn, it definitely influenced his decision.
As for the postcards he was writing, Floyd said he “tried to individualize each of them, basically saying, ‘Your hard work’s paid off,’ and Penn’s a great place.”
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