As hundreds of prospective Penn students flood campus for Quaker Days, current students are gearing up for the wildest weekend of the year.
Penn’s Quaker Days program for prospective members of the Class of 2019 began on Sunday, April 12, and runs through Wednesday. Though official Spring Fling activities do not start until Friday, many students begin their festivities as early as Wednesday night.
For the Admissions Office, keeping Quaker Days separate from Fling is a priority. “We intentionally try to avoid pre- and post-Fling as much as possible,” Dean of Admissions Eric Furda said.
Positioning Quaker Days too close to Fling raises several concerns for the Admissions Office. Most importantly, it is more difficult to find hosts for prospective students when current students are preoccupied with Fling activities.
Although the Admissions Office successfully recruited enough hosts in preparation for Quaker Days this year, Furda said that finding volunteers was a challenge, especially since this year is only the second year of overnight hosting. But Furda believes the difficulty was not necessarily due to Fling.
“The way I see it, it’s just a larger demand on students’ time,” Furda said. “It takes more than a year to build a culture.”
Since the Quad requires extensive cleanup after the weekend’s activities, allowing prospective students to visit directly after Fling would not provide them with an accurate impression of the heart of freshman life at Penn, Furda said. In previous years, prospective students visited on the Monday after Fling amid garbage and hungover students — but the Admissions Office is set on preventing this from happening again.
“On post-Fling Monday, we would not open the Quad up to anybody,” Furda said.
Scheduling Quaker Days is difficult for Penn, often forcing the dates of the program to land dangerously close to Fling. This year, prospective students had to visit between March 31, the day they received their acceptances, and May 1, the last day they can commit to a school. The Admissions Office also faced obstacles scheduling around Easter, Passover and the Penn Relays.
“The constraints that we have are similar to other schools but maybe even greater,” Furda said.
Danielle Swanson, a prospective Engineering student who is visiting campus for Quaker Days, said she has heard relatively little about Fling, other than a casual conversation in her host’s hallway.
“I was completely oblivious to everything,” she said. “They’ve been hiding it from us.”
Anna Mujica, another prospective Engineering student, also has not heard much discussion of Fling during Quaker Days. “I haven’t really heard anything, honestly,” she said.
But Mujica added that she felt the anticipation of Fling contributed to a more positive atmosphere on campus. “Everyone I think is happy because they’re all looking forward to Spring Fling,” she said.
Come Monday, that pre-Fling energy might turn into post-Fling exhaustion.
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