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For most Penn students, New Student Orientation is the beginning of a yearlong journey into finding their place on campus. Fortunately, there are various minority groups on campus that are ready to take in the class of 2020.

Most groups fall under the five main coalitions, known collectively as the 5B. These are the Asian Pacific Student Coalition, the Latin@ Coalition, UMOJA, the United Minorities Council and the Lambda Alliance. Some groups, such as Queer People of Color, are constituents to several coalitions.

Asian Pacific Student Coalition:

One of four umbrella groups for ethnic minorities, APSC is a coalition of 22 Asian and Asian Pacific groups on campus. These include the Penn Pakistani Association, Penn Taiwanese Society and cultural sorority Sigma Psi Zeta, among others.

APSC is closely affiliated with the Pan-Asian American Community House, a resource center located in the ARCH building at 3601 Locust Walk. PAACH is home to numerous Asian-interest organizations, from preprofessional groups such as the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers to performing arts groups such as the nationally-renowned a cappella group Penn Masala.

To welcome the class of 2020, APSC is throwing the Late Night event CelebrASIAN at the Hall of Flags in Houston Hall on Saturday, Aug. 27 at 10 p.m., featuring food and performances.

Latin@ Coalition:

The Latin@ Coalition consists of 24 constituents which span cultural, professional and social interests. They are closely affiliated to La Casa Latina, the resource center at the ARCH building for Latinx students and faculty at Penn. The center offers mentorship programs, opportunities for community service, academic resources as well as resources for students residing in the United States without legal documentation .

To introduce these resources to incoming freshmen, the Latin@ Coalition will be holding a social media scavenger hunt at the ARCH building auditorium on Friday, Sept. 2 from 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.


UMOJA is a coalition of groups formed of students of the African Diaspora. They have 20 constituent groups who meet bimonthly to discuss issues of concern such as public safety and minority recruitment. They are affiliated with MAKUU, the black cultural center at the ARCH building.

For NSO, one of UMOJA’s constituent groups, the Onyx Senior Honor Society is holding a film screening of “Straight Outta Compton” at the Class of ’49 Auditorium in Houston Hall. Starting at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 26, the event will also provide food from Jamaican Jerk Hut.

United Minorities Council:

The UMC is a coalition of Carribbean/African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Latino and Native American student organizations. Founded 38 years ago, the coalition strives to facilitate interculturalism and social justice within its 24 constituents.

Lambda Alliance:

The Lambda Alliance is the coalition of LGBTQ groups on campus, including the Association of Queer International Students, Penn Athletes and Allies Tackling Homophobia and a range of school-based support groups such as the Wharton Alliance, a preprofessional group for gender and sexuality minorities. Outside the alliance, there are many other groups representing LGBTQ interests such as Queer Muslims and Allies at Penn who provide a community for students to share their experiences confidentially.

The Lambda Alliance holds many of its events at the LGBT Center, located at 3907 Spruce Street. Their NSO late night event, Bar ‘Q’rawl, will be held there on Sunday, Sept. 4 from 9:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. Lambda Chair and Nursing senior Ian Jeong said freshmen will get to “crawl” between different rooms at the center, meeting student leaders and learning about the LGBTQ community at Penn.

More information about minority groups will be available at the Introduction to Cultural and First Generation Resources at the Terrace Room in Cohen Hall on Thursday, Aug. 25. In the meantime however, leaders from minority groups advise incoming freshman not to be discouraged if they do not immediately find their community.

“Do not be afraid to express yourself,” said President of Penn Queer and Asian and Wharton senior Kevin Lin.

“There are people in the Penn community who will accept you for who you are.”

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