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Photo slideshow of this year's Hey Day festivities, in which members of the junior class are officially declared seniors. Related: Hats off to the new seniors

Wednesday morning, juniors in matching red shirts, canes and straw hats marched down Locust Walk to be proclaimed seniors by Penn President Amy Gutmann.

Straying from tradition, this year’s Hey Day was celebrated on the first day of reading period.

Although originally scheduled for last Friday, Hey Day was moved to avoid conflicts with Good Friday and Passover, said College and Wharton junior Jibran Khan, the Junior Class Board president.

“The point of Hey Day is to get the whole junior class involved,” he said. “We wanted to make sure the whole class could participate.”

Students were also excited about the date change since the majority did not have any academic commitments. “Everyone was able to come out stress-free,” Wharton junior Sola Ayobiojo said.

However, some were upset because they did not receive straw hats that juniors typically don on Hey Day.

College juniors Stephen Morrissey and Kara Crutcher did not receive their prepaid straw hats. They will be reimbursed by the Office of Student Affairs, though.

While Morrissey was not upset because “a fair amount of people didn’t have it so we didn’t feel left out,” Crutcher was disappointed.

This year’s Hey Day saw significantly fewer hazing activities, due to safety initiatives that were put in place last year to prevent seniors from throwing food and condiments on the parading juniors.

Around 2,800 juniors signed the Hey Day pledge, affirming they would not participate in hazing activities, Khan said. The HeySafe Team — student volunteers who helped identify students in need of medical assistance — was also on site.

“This was the safest Hey Day in recent years,” Khan added.

“We had a very low incident rate,” College junior Claire Le Guen, Medical and Emergency Response Team chief, wrote in an email.

Many students, however, believe that hazing is an integral part of the Hey Day tradition and were disappointed that they were not assailed with food and condiments.

“I’m really distraught that no one threw anything at us at all,” College junior Samantha Osborne said.

Crutcher, who did not wash her hair Wednesday morning because she thought she would get egged, agreed. “A nice little condiment here or there would have been nice,” she said. “It’s part of the tradition.”

Khan disagreed, though, explaining that “there’s a lot more to Hey Day than hazing.”

Students enjoyed the event, which brought a sense of unity to the junior class.

“I got to see people I haven’t seen since freshmen year,” Ayobiojo said. “I’m glad I got to reconnect to my class.”

Osborne agreed. “I think this is the perfect moment. We’ve grown so much since Convocation.”

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