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Credit: Isabel Liang

Three Penn Student Government leaders have created an informal Class of 2024 committee to plan class-wide social events and continue first-year traditions online in lieu of the vacant 2024 Class Board.

The committee, which is open to any first year interested in joining, currently consists of about 40 first years with three sub-committees each focused on planning the first-year tradition Econ Scream on Dec. 12, the pre-finals study break session "cram-and-jam" on Dec. 11, tentatively, or other social events. Instead of gathering in the Quad the night before the first ECON 001: Introduction to Micro Economics midterm to let out a cathartic scream, students will scream into their computers on Zoom for the virtual Econ Scream.

After the Nominations and Elections Committee decided to postpone 2024 Class Board elections until the spring due to the remote semester, Wharton sophomore and 2023 Class Board President Derek Nhieu, College sophomore and 2023 Class Board Vice President of External Affairs Steele Parkerson, and College senior and Social Planning and Event Committee Chair Fisher Taylor formed a committee to fulfill the responsibilities of 2024 Class Board, which first met in October.

Since then, the committee has recruited more members and begun planning the two first-year traditions and other events like trivia night on Dec. 2. College first-year Anooshey Ikhlas, who is on the social events sub-committee organizing the trivia night, said she first heard about the Class of 2024 committee from students she knew through PENNacle, a pre-orientation program focused on student leadership, and immediately knew she wanted to be involved.

“I knew that we were thinking about planning events, and that's something that I really liked to do in high school,” Ikhlas, who was involved in her high school student government, said.

Some students like College first-year Charlie Schumer expressed disappointment and concern that the absence of a formal Class Board may hinder social opportunities for first years and subsequently joined the committee to help facilitate class-wide events.

“I wanted to not only be involved myself, but also provide opportunities for other people to be involved so that we can get to know our classmates and have actual community,” Schumer said.

There is no election process or application to become a committee member in order to encourage first years to join, Nhieu said. Schumer added that for the same reason that the NEC decided to postpone 2024 Class Board elections, it would not make sense for students to vote for peers given the virtual setting and inability to convene as a class in person.

Nhieu said that the committee will likely disband at the end of spring 2021 when a traditional 2024 Class Board can be elected. Even when the committee disbands, Schumer said he is still interested in staying involved in student government and its other branches like SPEC.

“I think a lot of us are still interested in serving on the Class Board in future years,” Schumer said. “And even if that's not possible for each of us, we're going to find different ways, and of course, student government has a lot more avenues than just the Class Board.”

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