You’re at a BYO with some of your friends. You look up at some point and realize that almost everyone is on their phone at the same time texting, Facebooking, Twittering, Instagramming, Snapchatting, emailing. It’s not the whole time, but at some point one person pulls out their phone, there’s a slight lull in the conversation, the next person pulls out their phone and pretty soon everyone has a white glow on their face. You’re still hanging out, but no one’s completely there.

We’re not anti-tech or anti-connecting. We are iPhone-bearing, Facebook stalking, laptop note takers just like everyone else. But every once in a while we need to give each other real attention, grab a cup of coffee and look each other in the face. Enter Penn [Dis]Connects: an opportunity to pluck yourself from the web, remind yourself of the world not viewable through an Instagram lens and return with a better appreciation for the people around you.

On Saturday, April 20, we challenge you to put your computers to sleep. Get off Facebook, get together with a group of friends and just spend time with real people. Do something — go to a museum, bike by the Schuylkill, host a late-morning brunch.

How many times have you seen someone over the course of the semester and suggested that you get lunch with them — only to forget about it as you walk away, texting someone else. As reading days and the end of the year are approaching, there’s no better time to connect with real people around you and remember what really matters — not just grades and finals, but relationships.

This isn’t an event that you show up to — it’s an experience that you create for yourself and your friends. It’s a space in time that you set aside to realize how incredible it might be to not have to respond to emails for a day.

Getting involved is really straightforward. Get a group of your friends together and plan activities for Saturday, April 20. Come the 20th, turn off your phones and computers and spend the day together, fully-present. Go to PennDisconnects.com — take the pledge, spread the word, join the movement.

Joyce Kim is a College sophomore from Dallas, Texas. Her email address is joycek@sas.upenn.edu. Aaron Wilson is a College junior from Scarsdale, N.Y. His email address is wilsonaa@sas.upenn.edu. Follow them @joycekim77, @aarowilso and @penndisconnects .

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