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Students enjoy food, company and fine art during the New Student Orientation event, "An Evening at the Philadelphia Museum of Art" last year.

View our guide to Penn and Philadelphia here.

On a typical night during New Student Orientation, hordes of freshmen are seen pouring from the Quad and Hill College House on their way to the parties that lie just beyond 40th Street. This year, though, things are changing.

The Undergraduate Assembly is launching a series of new late-night events in an attempt to combat drinking and offer an alterative to the "dominant culture of NSO," in the words of College junior and UA chairman Alec Webley. The events are coming together as planned, though on a smaller scale than originally anticipated, he said.

The organizations partnering with the UA include The Daily Pennsylvanian, the Muslim Student Association, the Queer Student Association, Penn Student Government, the Latino Coalition, the Panhellenic Council, the Penn Alumni Student Association and Hillel, among others.

View Late-Night NSO Events in a larger map

The alcohol-free events will offer students a chance to get to know each other and most will provide both entertainment and food.

Returning students say they think these new events will be popular.

"People will definitely attend events like this as long as there are good incentives," College junior Helen Oh said.

Part of the original plan included a Social Planning and Events Committee concert and other large events. However, due to the recent economic downturn, these events were unfeasible.

"Hopefully the University will be able to set aside more resources in coming years," Webley said.

According to Webley, the need for this program arose after last year's NSO when there were several unregistered fraternity parties and alcohol violations.

He said he hopes the late-night events will have two outcomes: that they will provide safer ways for freshmen to enjoy themselves during NSO and offer a fun alternative to the traditional fraternity-hopping that is associated with this week.

Webley explained that NSO is a dangerous time because not only are students encouraged to drink, but most freshman are unfamiliar with their surroundings and many have not yet been exposed to heavy drinking.

Webley emphasized that this is the first year for this kind of event. While there have been late-night events in the past, these were sponsored and run by administrators and were "regrettably not successful," he said.

This year's late-night events are not official NSO events and are completely student-run, he added.

Stephanie Lamb, a College freshman, said that while she does not think these events will stop binge drinking, she believes they will at least curb drinking during the hours of the events.

"Events like these are really good bonding experiences for our class," she added.

Another change this year is the removal of the social freeze on fraternities, which will result in registered parties at on-campus fraternity houses during NSO.

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