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convocation-2017-class-of-2021

The Class of 2021 experienced the tradition of Convocation during their first year. Now, as sophomores, they will take part in the inaugural U-Night. (File Photo)

Class Board 2021 announced Thursday night that they are organizing "U-Night," a new tradition that aims to be the culminating experience of sophomore year to complement Convocation, Hey Day, and graduation during freshman, junior, and senior year, respectively.

“We realized there were only three times that the whole class was together,” Class Board 2021 College Co-Chair and College sophomore Charles Curtis-Thomas said. “[This event is] part of the initiative to make sure that the sophomore experience is highlighted and elevated to the level of the other three years, which it really hasn’t been in the past few years.” 

Curtis-Thomas said the board began brainstorming the event a year ago when they realized sophomores lacked an important event to bring the entire class together.

U-Night will take place on April 30 from 8 to 9 p.m. on College Green, Class Board 2021 announced on its Facebook page. The event will feature speeches from Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Wendell Pritchett, as well as raffles, free food, and drone photographs. Some raffle prizes will include AirPods, Beats headphones, and other prizes.

Class Board 2021 also sent an email announcing the event to all sophomores on Friday morning. The email included a link for students to submit photos to display at U-Night. 

While the event is free to all sophomores, the Facebook event said the first 1,000 attendees will receive free lanterns and t-shirts. Class Board 2021 President Lizzie Youshaei, a College and Wharton sophomore, said students will show their unity by lighting the lanterns when they relate to certain aspects of the speeches made throughout the night. 

Youshaei said the event is meant to address the challenges of sophomore year by bringing the Class of 2021 together. 

“I think your sophomore year is really different from your freshman year,” she said. “It’s a lot easier sophomore year to feel disillusioned and lost on campus. You’re not the baby anymore.” 

Although the initial idea was to have the event be “Declared Major Day,” Youshaei said the board quickly realized this would not be inclusive of all sophomores, since the four undergraduate schools have different timelines for choosing courses of study. 

Class Board 2021 also considered holding an event similar to Hey Day, but decided to give U-Night its own identity focused on academic individuality and unity. 

“We wanted to make it a celebration of everyone’s successes so far and hard work,” Youshaei said. 

College Co-Chair and College and Wharton sophomore Daniel Gordon said an important part of the event will be “talking about how we’ve all had different experiences, but we will come together as a Class of 2021 to thrive, succeed, and help each other out.”

Class Board 2021 hopes U-Night will establish a new tradition that will become an integral part of the Penn experience. 

“Most of the Penn traditions were created hundred of years ago," Gordon added. "Now we’re creating the tradition of the future, and we’re really excited to see where this future will go.”

Youshaei said she hopes the event will bring the sophomore class together.

“This event is to remind the class that we are all in this together and a lot more similar than we are different,” she said. “I really see this night as being a moment that everyone will look back on as just a really special evening.” 

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