Some campus organizations that host events are opting for hybrid or entirely virtual formats this fall, even as a majority of classes are held in person — as were many New Student Orientation events.
Campus organizations from Perry World House to the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics are using outdoor spaces, streaming, and video-conferencing platforms to make sure events are accessible to all members of the Penn community.
The Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics will host both in-person and virtual events, including a series of hybrid research seminars and virtual speaker events.
The Annenberg School for Communication is hosting their events on Zoom this semester.
Kelly Writers House, a center for writers from Penn and Philadelphia, is planning to host outdoor events that will be streamed online, KWH Director Jessica Lowenthal said.
“We have a great outdoor space, set up with microphones, lights, a tent, and fans, and we’ve always streamed our events live from the garden,” she said.
Lowenthal added that KWH is prepared to host events entirely online if conditions change, building on experience from previous virtual semesters.
KWH is hosting one of its first events of the semester, a student-run Open Mic Night, in the 1942 Garden and on YouTube at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 8.
“I always find the Open Mic Night event to be an amazing event because we get to see so many new students as they come into campus," Lowenthal said. "It reminds me of why I love being at KWH. It feels really special this year.”
Perry World House, a center for global engagement on campus, is hosting in-person events with masks and distancing. Attendees will also have the option to participate virtually or watch recordings of the events.
PWH's first event — “The World Today: COVID-19 and the New Normal?” — took place on Aug. 31 with an in-person audience on campus and more viewers watching on Zoom.
“I am most looking forward to interacting with students, having the building teeming with them and their energy, and continuing to provide a wealth of opportunities and experiences to globally minded students,” PWH Deputy Director LaShawn Jefferson said.
Jefferson said it was important for PWH to resume in-person programming, given Penn’s overall vaccination compliance rates among students, faculty, and staff.
“We of course weighed issues of overall safety before making a decision to resume in-person programming, and we consulted widely across Penn with other provost centers, medical officials, and student groups,” he added.
While PWH hopes to continue with hybrid events this semester, Jefferson said their current arrangements are subject to change as COVID-19 guidelines evolve.