The Penn administration and 2022 Class Board postponed Feb Club — a series of social events for seniors — for the second year in a row due to COVID-19.
In an email sent to seniors on Jan. 27, 2022, Class Board President and College senior Sam Strickberger said the celebration will be renamed "Senior Club" and will take place after March 14 when students return from spring break.
“The concerns for the administration are about the safety and health of our student body. Our top priority as Class Board is a complete and full celebration of Senior Club," Strickberger said. "With all we've missed, seniors deserve no less. Understanding the restrictions on the capacity of people and limits on food and drink, that simply wasn't an option in February, so March and April give us as good a shot as we can get.”
A tradition that dates back to 1997, Feb Club celebrates seniors’ last full month as undergraduate students and brings the class together. The Class Board hosts an event every day of February. Past events included trips to Atlantic City, visits to the city’s Magic Gardens, nights at bars, Philadelphia 76ers games, and snow tubing, among others. In 2020, the Board’s total budget for Feb Club was $75,000.
The announcement came as COVID-19 case counts at Penn continue to fall following an uptick in cases in December due to the Omicron variant — prompting the University to suspend all indoor social gatherings. The total positivity rate among community members was 4.11% for the week of Jan. 16 to Jan. 22 — down from 7.57% the previous week. In Philadelphia County, the number of reported cases has also declined in recent weeks.
The University updated its event guidelines this week, loosening earlier restrictions. The updated guidelines allow students to gather for class, studying, and meetings but still prohibit both registered parties and events at third-party venues. Penn will review its policies again by Feb. 1 after examining the full results of gateway testing.
The Class Board had already launched ticket sales for a Senior Night at the Two Friends concert on Feb. 2. Penn seniors were offered 50% off tickets to see the DJ duo perform at the Fillmore as well as tickets to a merch raffle. Those who had purchased Two Friends tickets will be fully reimbursed for their purchase, Strickberger said.
Last year, the pandemic forced the Class Board to move Feb Club to April, when milder weather allowed students to gather at in-person outdoor events. The 2021 Class Board encouraged students to attend events and complete activities with their social “pod.” Events included a trip to Six Flags, food trucks, virtual Painting with a Twist, an outdoor movie night, and virtual Smokes Quizzo. Seniors were also given deals all month at nearby restaurants, including Kiwi Frozen Yogurt, SoBol Philly, and High Street Philly.
Strickberger hopes that pushing Feb Club to March will allow for more outdoor activities. While the Class Board had a full schedule planned for February, they hadn't yet made payments to venues, he said. Financially, the Senior Club this year is “in a much better position than all previous years” due to revenue from merchandise sales and saving during the pandemic, Strickberger said.
Despite the delay, Strickberger said that Senior Club will be an opportunity for the Class of 2022 to “celebrate together, rekindle old relationships, make new ones, and deepen others."