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Caroline Magdolen | There’s no better time for climate education

(11/10/22 5:33pm)

Professor Simon Richter is the Class of 1942 Endowed Term Professor of German — he is also one of the most vocal faculty members on climate change that I have ever met. Richter is a key founder of Climate Week at Penn and its signature 1.5* Minute Climate Lectures as well as an instructor for "Water Worlds" and "Forest Worlds," two courses heavily focused on examining the environment through a humanities lens. 

Caroline Magdolen | The Rat Kings of Penn

(10/20/22 6:42pm)

It is all too common a sentiment at Penn, as pre-professional and high-achieving as it is, to feel like we are not doing enough. But I don’t believe that is the whole story: If I could checklist my way to happiness, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I’d take courses in the philosophy of music and underwater basket-weaving and wine tasting; I’d do twenty handstands a day, walk 30 miles, whatever. 

Caroline Magdolen | Penn Was Never a Need-Blind School

(01/28/22 11:13pm)

My stepdad, a ‘75 Yalie and physicist, jokes that he was admitted as a part of the University’s “geek quota.” He was a high school student whose idea of playing hooky was playing with lasers in his friend’s basement. He wasn’t wealthy or suave. He once went to a mixer at Yale wearing hip hugging, hot pink bell bottoms and seriously questioned why not a single woman would dance with him. His family broke the bank paying for him to attend an Ivy at a time when they were considered exclusively for the rich, and he is eternally grateful for it. 

Caroline Magdolen | Here we go again?

(12/09/21 9:44pm)

I feel the year 2021 has this “Groundhog Day” quality to me. If you described 2021 to me in 2019, I would be flabbergasted. But after living through 2020, 2021 feels like a mix of unexpected and unwanted repetitiveness. 2021 was another year of climate disasters and political dramas. 2021 was another year of COVID-19 variants that continue to threaten to upend our daily lives. Will 2022 be any different, with Americans even more concerned over the emerging Omicron variant than they were with Delta?

Caroline Magdolen | What do weed-out courses really measure?

(11/23/21 2:52pm)

Nearly everyone at Penn has experienced that one course with the nonsensical lectures, the mountain of work, the impossible exams, or some ungodly combination of all three. We often experience this course early in our Penn experiences, and it can remake our entire academic trajectory. Yes, I’m talking about the infamous “weed-out” course. 

Caroline Magdolen | How many lanternflies have you stomped today?

(09/26/21 11:00pm)

With unusual fervor, my friends and I scoured the perimeter of the Perelman Center, squishing bugs and exclaiming with joy when we landed a hit. To the untrained eye, we’re no better than the kids that burn ants with magnifying glasses. But these are not just any bugs. These are spotted lanternflies, or as Billy Penn calls them, “public enemy no. 1.”

Caroline Magdolen | Saplings in Juniper Valley Park

(09/11/21 1:30pm)

At the start of every school year in New York City, our social studies teachers focused their lesson plans on 9/11. Each teacher had a different approach. Some described their own experiences and encouraged students to talk to their parents about the event. Others had us watch documentaries. In a geography class, my teacher started with a case study of how we link diseases to specific locations, tying back to the lingering health effects among 9/11 survivors.

Caroline Magdolen | Eco-anxiety, our double-edged sword to wield

(08/22/21 1:19am)

Eco-anxiety is a misnomer. Healthline defines it as “persistent worries about the future of Earth and the life it shelters,” but those who have eco-anxiety also report anger, depression, existential dread, grief, guilt, obsessive thoughts, and post-traumatic stress. Eco-anxiety? It’s more like eco-anxiety, mixed in with eco-depression, eco-OCD, and eco-PTSD. 

Caroline Magdolen | So you want a third party? Support ranked choice voting.

(06/27/21 7:08pm)

During the 2016 election, many voters justified their decision as “the lesser of two evils.” In fact, the percentages of U.S. adults who ranked each of the two candidates, former president Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, unfavorably in Gallup’s “scalometer,” were the highest in presidential polling history at 61% and 52%, respectively. Though Joe Biden’s candidacy fared better than Clinton’s on this metric, his rating was still relatively low. 

Caroline Magdolen | Using random housing assignments to build a stronger community

(04/16/21 8:50pm)

After spending a few months here, I’ve grown to love Kings Court English College House, my college house. I enjoy a larger dorm room than my peers at Hill College House and it never gets too loud in the hallways, which can’t always be said for the Quad. My podmates are amazing, and I am eager to share a suite with them next year. But while I highly recommend Kings Court English College House to incoming first years, I can’t help wondering: what if I had gone somewhere else?

Caroline Magdolen | Let’s talk about the other global crisis: sustainability

(03/01/21 12:38am)

It’s expected that some parts of the college experience are going to be different when you arrive on campus in the middle of a pandemic. Instead of running across campus to lectures, I’ve been racing to COVID-19 testing sites with my PennCard in one hand and a loading OpenPass in the other. Instead of being social at parties and club meetings, I have a schedule jam-packed with Zooms. And instead of eating communally in buffet-style dining halls, I shuffle into Hill, grab a pre-packaged meal, and dine in my dorm during an online lecture. 

Caroline Magdolen | Penn’s not our babysitter; let’s act our age.

(01/29/21 3:51pm)

No one said that moving thousands of students on campus in the middle of a pandemic would be easy. That’s why Penn delayed move-ins in the first place, when they had yet to implement cohesive testing and isolation protocols. But when we look at the numbers, Penn has pulled off what seemed impossible last year: a successful move-in while coronavirus cases nationwide are higher than ever. The cumulative coronavirus prevalence rate on campus is only 1.21%, and a week out from move-in, 90.3% of on-campus isolation capacity remains available. 

Caroline Magdolen | Saving American Democracy Starts With 147 Republicans

(01/09/21 3:30pm)

I enjoy writing articles that encourage Penn students to take action. But after an attempted coup, it is naive to argue that students alone can resolve the partisan tensions that are threatening to tear the United States apart. Collectively, we are students entering Philadelphia, the birthplace of the Constitution, at a time when the document’s power is weaker than ever. We just lived through an insurrection. And the more I watch the news, the more powerless I feel.