Students know it's going to be big - they're just not sure what it is.
Surely anytime the University fits a dozen tents onto College Green, something important is coming alongside extravagant displays of food and entertainment.
But as alumni and administrators gear up for one of the most ambitious fundraising campaigns to date, many students aren't exactly sure what the weekend's festivities are all about.
"Everybody knows that something is happening," said College senior Amber Woodward, a member of the Penn Alumni Student Society, "but I don't think they realize what a big deal it is."
What's happening is the kick-off of Penn's first capital campaign in 13 years and the fifth in the school's history. Last time, donors emptied $1.4 billion into Penn's pockets, exceeding the University's $1 billion goal.
Through the campaign, the University hopes to boost financial aid, improve academic resources and develop the postal lands, among other initiatives.
But aside from vague references to a "campaign" on posters and in e-mails, many students admit they don't know exactly what the Celebration on the Green is celebrating.
"A lot of people don't realize that they don't do this every year," College senior Shirley Ling said, who is aware of the campaign through her involvement in the Senior Class Gift Drive committee.
"I just thought it was for Homecoming," said Wharton junior Alexandria Lee, who did not know the University was beginning a fundraising effort.
But that's meant to change this weekend, Undergraduate Assembly chairman Jason Karsh said: The kick-off on Saturday will begin the process of informing students about the campaign and its goals.
Senior Class Board President Puneet Singh added that the event will inspire enthusiasm among students - and not just for the free food.
"It's not going to just affect Penn, it's going to affect Philadelphia in a huge way," Singh said.
History department chairman Walter Licht said that, aside from a few isolated cases, most professors are not that engaged in the campaign.
"If you randomly picked a professor, my suspicion is you'd find someone who is not that engaged but might be aware of it," Licht said.
"The faculty in general is very engaged in their own research and teaching and being on the front line with students," he added. "Many shy away from many administrative duties."
English department chairman Suvir Kaul also said he hasn't heard much conversation between faculty members about the campaign, though they have discussed it in faculty meetings.
"It's only when [the money] actually arrives that you take it seriously," he said.
Licht also anticipates more enthusiasm as the donations start rolling in.
"It's not the game. It's just the kick-off," he said. "And I think you're going to be hearing a lot in weeks to come."Comments powered by Disqus
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