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The Class of 2019 marching down Locust Walk during Hey Day on April 26, 2018.

Credit: Pranay Vemulamada

Seniors who will have to miss the rescheduled Hey Day because it clashes with classes and travel for fall break are disappointed with the selection of the ceremony's date.

Class Board 2022 announced on Sept. 29 that Hey Day for the Class of 2022 would take place on Wednesday, Oct. 13. They had previously postponed the ceremony from the spring 2021 semester — when it would have taken place during reading days, or days without class — in order to hold it in person. Now, however, because the rescheduled date takes place during class hours, many students will be unable to attend.

Hey Day is a Penn tradition that typically takes place in April where juniors wear red shirts and hats, called skimmers, and carry canes as they proceed down Locust Walk to College Green, where Penn President Amy Gutmann pronounces them seniors. 

College senior and Class Board 2022 President Sam Strickberger said that after working with administration and the Office of Student Affairs, the Class Board determined that Oct. 13 would be the only possible date to hold Hey Day. 

“University Life consulted with campus partners in the Provost’s Office, Public Safety, and Wellness to honor this campus tradition while considering the health, wellness, and safety factors associated with hosting a gathering of this scale," Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives for University Life Mark Elias wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian. "After thorough consideration, and acknowledgment that it would be challenging to select a date that worked for all students, we selected October 13th as the event date.”

Strickberger said that while there is no blanket excuse from classes for seniors, Class Board 2022 will inform professors, who can make the decision to excuse seniors to attend.

College senior Natalie Edman has a lab midterm for BBB 310: Functional Neuroanatomy that clashes with the Hey Day celebration. Edman said that she and another senior friend in the class plan to ask their professor if they can take the exam earlier in the day so that they can still participate in Hey Day.

Like Edman, College senior Namrita Kumar has class during the event. Kumar said that she also plans to ask her professor of a three-hour seminar whether they can extend the normal 10-15 minute break in the middle of class to 30 minutes to allow seniors to briefly join the ceremony.

Edman said that she wishes Hey Day would have been scheduled to take place on a Friday, when many seniors do not have class. Kumar agreed, saying that she and almost all of the seniors she knows do not have classes on Fridays. 

College senior Joseph De Simone, however, said he plans to skip his class during that time in order to attend Hey Day. De Simone said that he is lucky that more of his midterms are taking place this week, meaning he is able to miss class without facing too many problems on Oct. 13.

Still, De Simone said he was disappointed that the date means not all students will be able to attend.

“It's impressive that [Strickberger] and Class Board are still able to organize it through COVID-19 and everything,” De Simone said. “I just don't think it's going to be as great as it has been in the past.”

For some, the conflict isn't classes, but fall break, which begins on Oct. 14. College senior Sophie Weich, who bought her Hey Day tickets the first day they went on sale, is no longer able to attend because she will already be traveling for break. Weich said that while she is slightly disappointed that she has to miss the celebration, she was not upset with the date choice overall.

“Coming off a year of just having such an odd college experience, part of me is sort of just done with it,” Weich said. “If I was going to be around I would participate, but I'm not super upset to not be able to be there.”

Kumar said that she and her friends had purchased their Hey Day bundles already, and plan to take their own pictures afterward with their hats, red shirts, and canes.

“At least we’ll have those pictures, but it's really disappointing that we can't actually experience Hey Day as Hey Day,” Kumar said.