The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Penn's annual gala event for first years, An Evening at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, was held on Aug. 26. Credit: Abhiram Juvvadi

Penn’s New Student Orientation program underwent several changes this year, including fewer mandatory programs and more small group activities.

Introducing over 2,500 first-year students and 200 transfer students to Penn, the main NSO schedule began on Aug. 25 and continued through Convocation on Aug. 28 across campus. Each year, Penn New Student Orientation & Academic Initiatives makes annual updates to its programs based on students' needs and how Penn changes, NSOAI Director David Fox wrote in an email to the Daily Pennsylvanian.

This year's changes included more modular programming options, fewer mandatory programs, more small group programs, and greater flexibility for students to shape their schedules. NSOAI also introduced a new focus called Penn Celebrates the Arts, which was added with the aim of introducing students to cultural life on campus and in the city of Philadelphia. 

The new focus builds on the NSO annual gala event that has been held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the last twenty years. According to the Penn Celebrates the Arts website, the focus will also emphasize the performing arts and its role in the lives of individuals, Penn, and the city of Philadelphia. 

College first-year Rodin Bantawa, who attended the program, said that she enjoyed the event as an art enthusiast herself and is looking to explore other ways to engage with the arts while at Penn.

“As someone who appreciates the arts, I liked the event,” Bantawa said. “I’m still trying to figure out how to get involved [after the event], but I definitely think there is a way for me to engage further whether that’s a course, club or minor in the future.”

In addition to the new focus area, the Class of 2027 photo took place on Friday night at Franklin Field with a "Friday Night Lights" themed festival, a change from the photo previously taking place during the day. Also, Convocation took place for the first time in recent memory at Franklin Field, moving from its past location on College Green.

For the third year, Penn also continued its Second-Year Orientation for sophomores, which ran from Aug. 27 to Aug. 31. SYO events included a Phillies game, a welcome back reception with Penn President Liz Magill, and a spikeball tournament.