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Various refreshment were provided at the picnic reception on Shoemaker Green after President Magill's inauguration on Oct. 21, 2022. Credit: Anna Vazhaeparambil

The student section of Homecoming weekend included free food, games, and merchandise giveaways for students and continued the tradition of an annual tree planting ceremony for the first-year class.

The event, which took place on Oct. 22 on Shoemaker Green from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., was planned and hosted by Penn Traditions, a student organization under the Penn Alumni umbrella that aims to “celebrate Penn’s history and traditions, connect students and alumni, and promote and inspire lifelong Penn pride.” The itinerary included the Class of 2026 Tree Planting at 11:30 a.m. and a merchandise giveaway at noon.

“This is the first time we've done homecoming in this capacity in a while just because of COVID-19,” Christa Leimbach LiVecchi, the director of Student and Young Alumni Programs for Penn Traditions, said.

Penn Traditions had been working on the student section of Homecoming since August, according to College junior Hertha Torre, the chair of the organization.

The event was principally organized by the Campus Community committee of Penn Traditions, but Penn Traditions also worked with the 2026 Class Board to organize the tree planting as well as with Penn Athletics, Penn Campus Recreation, other parts of Penn Alumni, and Development and Alumni Relations to handle aspects such as catering, according to Torre.

“We've been working on it for a long time just to make sure that what we put out is a good opportunity for students to celebrate Penn and the many historical traditions we have,” Torre said. “[It’s] an opportunity to get together and have a good time, too.”

Torre added that the food served at the Homecoming Student Section event included pulled pork, macaroni and cheese, and beef briskets, among others. Food was served with complimentary drinks and merchandise for over 700 students that came to Shoemaker Green during the celebration.

“I think the food exceeded my expectations. I wasn’t expecting that level of quality when it’s all free. I also loved the free Penn merch,” College first-year Bassel Shawareb said of the event. “I feel like they could’ve taken down the barrier between students and alumni to facilitate the interactions between the two groups.”

In a new tradition for this year, the week prior to Homecoming was Spirit Week, also planned by the Campus Community committee of Penn Traditions. The week featured themed events such as as “Penn On Zoom,” which encouraged students to wear pajamas,  and “Penn’s Peas in a Pod,” which encouraged students to dress in matching outfits.

Throughout the week, alumni attended arts and culture programming, including tours of the Penn Museum and gallery walks.

“Homecoming this year is so special…as I think there's a lot of really fun energy that comes with new change, a new president,” LiVecchi said. “And thinking about how this is really special for students to be involved, because a presidential change doesn't happen very often.” 

Penn President Liz Magill was inaugurated as the University's ninth president on Oct. 21. Fossil Free Penn protesters also stormed the field during the Homecoming football game that followed the student section event on Oct. 22.