Despite physical improvements to the weight room in Hutchinson Gymnasium, students are still steamed about conditions there. Now they are upset because the management has been confiscating weights that are left on the floor in order to teach patrons how to properly utilize the gym. University Strength and Fitness Manager Rob Wagner decided that something needed to be done about students' treatment of the weight room. According to Wagner, students were leaving weights on the floor of the room after they used them. He said several injuries had resulted from students tripping over the weights and from equipment damage. He drafted a plan entitled "Proposal for the Improvement of the Hutchinson Weightroom Facility for Students," which outlined his objectives and the methods in which he would achieve them. In mid-October, Wagner placed 50 signs in the weight room telling patrons to put their weights back on racks. Prior to this, signs reminding students, "rerack your weights" had already been on the walls. Wagner said this sign campaign, had no effect. He then began to chart the amount of weight left on the ground and found that by 6 p.m. on some days there was as much as 4130 pounds of equipment on the floor. When there was still no improvement, Wagner posted warnings stating that in a week, he would begin confiscating weights left on the floor. When the situation was still not completely rectified, Wagner told the weight room monitors to chart the number of weights on the floor every hour and to remove them at the end of each day for a week. Wagner said the effort improved student treatment of the equipment in the first week. He said before the confiscations began, students would leave 70 percent of the weights on the floor. But in the entire first week of the program, only 55 percent of the weights had to be removed. With these results, Wagner said he thinks the program is working, although he plans to reevaluate it today. If he decides treatment has not sufficiently improved, he will reinstate the program after winter break. Director of Intramural Recreation Sports Bob Glascott, who first approved Wagner's proposal, said that one of the program's downfalls is that everyone will be affected, even students who previously treated the weights with care. Students working out in Hutch's weight room said they are frustrated with the program, although many admitted that weights were left on the floor out of "sheer laziness."
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The University climbed to 11th place in the U.S. News and World Report rankings during September, tying with the University of Chicago. Penn had placed 12th last year and was rated above two Ivy League schools for the first time ever this year -- Cornell and Columbia universities. Penn also landed in the national spotlight in the "Women of the Ivy League" spread in Playboy magazine. A medical student and a College student were featured in the magazine. The rest of the month was not as glamorous for Penn students or faculty. Controversy was raised because students allegedly discriminated against black walking escorts. Penn Walk officials said one student hid instead of walking with two black escorts. And a Drexel student was charged with ethnic intimidation for harassing Indian students in their apartment in March. Gregory Rosenbaum was sentenced with 250 hours of community service and a $476 fine. The student committee responsible for approving the new judicial code refused to support a draft submitted to the public by Provost Stanley Chodorow because they said it put students' rights second to the University's. The draft prevented students charged under it from being represented by an attorney while they were questioned by a lawyer representing the University. The Penn-In-Touch Internet service that provided students with their personal University records was shut down two weeks after it was started because Netscape, the University's supported web-browser program, announced a potential security leak in its encryption system. Penn-In-Touch was restarted at the end of October. And mail problems continued to plague the Quadrangle. Seventy-six opened letters and packages were found opened upon arrival in the Quad mail room. U.S. Postal Inspectors said they were investigating in order to find the perpetrators. In sports, the Quaker men's basketball team suffered a setback before the season even began. After much confusion and wavering, much-heralded Indiana University transfer Rob Hodgson moved into High Rise East, moved out of High Rise East and then moved to Rutgers University.
Who is Brian Gondos? Find out on 'Jeopardy!' Hours and hours of studying could pay off for College sophomore Brian Gondos at the end of this semester -- literally. Gondos will fly to Los Angeles during winter break to participate in the Jeopardy! College Tournament, which has an earning potential of $25,000 and a new car. Gondos, a pre-med history major, found out last Thursday that he was one of 15 students chosen to compete in the popular game show's annual tournament. Being on the "smart people's" game show has always been a dream of Gondos. In high school he tried out for the show's Teen Tournament but did not pass the preliminary test. This year, he decided to take another shot. When a message at the end of a Jeopardy! episode announced that the show was looking for college student contestants, Gondos sent in 30 postcards indicating his interest. Fourteen thousand students sent in postcards to the show as well, Gondos later found out, but the show only auditions 2,000 randomly picked students -- a group which happened to include Gondos. A month and a half later, he traveled to a New York City hotel ballroom for the Jeopardy! tryouts for his region. Upon his arrival, Gondos had to take a 50-question test modeled after the television show. He had only eight seconds to answer each question. Gondos said the questions, which were flashed on television screens, gauged his knowledge of mostly the fine arts, such as music, literature and dance. He was disappointed that there were not more questions in other subjects. "I'm big on sports, and they only had one sports question," he said, referring to the answer that prompted him to identify the Chinese American who won the French Open in 1989 -- "Who is Michael Chang?" Gondos was one of seven individuals in his location to pass the test. He never found out his score. At the next level of selection, Jeopardy! officials asked Gondos questions such as, "If chosen, what would you say about yourself at the beginning of the show?" "They want to see if you're enthusiastic and if you have some interesting qualities about you," he said. Gondos then participated in a mock game show against the other individuals who passed the initial test. "You practice your buzzer and you see how you do under pressure," he explained. At the end of the day, Gondos was told that he would know by the first week in December whether he was chosen to compete in the tournament. Much to his surprise, he got the call last Thursday night. "I was shocked," Gondos said. "I've always wanted to be on Jeopardy! and I thought that I'd have to try out next year and the year after that." The shows will be taped January 9 and 10 and will air the last two weeks of February. Gondos's affinity for Jeopardy! stems from his deep love for knowledge. "I've always liked learning about things and having a broad range of knowledge," he said. "I was never really good at sports. In high school I was on the College Bowl team." Gondos is also on Penn's College Bowl team, but because of his observance of the Jewish sabbath on Saturdays, he said he has only been able to attend one tournament. "I am not the best person on the team," he said. "I wouldn't even be on the first team." Gondos said he hopes to win big, but he said he will be satisfied with his performance regardless of his placing. "The people I'm going against are probably more talented than I am," he said. "If I win that's great, but if I lose I'll know that I gave it my best effort." Even if he doesn't run away with the first-place prize, Gondos is still guaranteed to win money: The second-place winner of the tournament will receive at least $10,000, the third-place winner will get at least $7,500, the fourth-through-ninth places receive at least $5,000 and the rest receive at least $1,000. Gondos said he is going to invest his winnings. "I've never won money on a game show before," he said. "I don't have a car, so it would nice to drive a car around."
In keeping with the holiday season, Wharton and Engineering senior Jon Bloom and his roommates put up Christmas lights in their High Rise North window. But the message they spelled out does not exactly spread goodwill -- "HRS SUX," it reads. The 20th floor windows face High Rise South and the message is aimed toward the building on the other side of Locust Walk. College senior Kabir Akhtar, who lives next door to Bloom, said he and his friends believe that High Rise North is the best dormitory in Superblock, far superior to High Rise South. "We take pride in our building," Akhtar said. "I mean, hell, we face the other way, we got cable first and the other one is just so damn ugly." Bloom, however, said he and his roommates were motivated by more practical concerns. "We were basically looking for a new, innovative way to procrastinate," Bloom said. "We don't think there is enough tension on campus and we are also trying to start a rivalry between the high rises." Akhtar said he has been living in HRN for three years and has become extremely attached to it. "We're too lazy to move off campus," he added. "We thought we'd stick with this building -- it's been good to us." Akhtar said he and his neighbors conceived of the idea for the message last year, but never got around to actually putting it together. But this year, one of Bloom's roommates went to CVS and bought 550 lights in order to complete the prank. "We have kind of a warped sense of what's cool and what to do with our time," Akhtar said. No Christmas light messages have appeared on the north side of HRS as of yet, but the roommates said they would welcome any response that might be posted and would even consider teaming up with HRS against HRE in a small match of Christmas light warfare. "We've been hoping to start a little fight," Akhtar said. "We've been looking and no one has put up anything worthwhile. If they do say High Rise North sucks, then maybe the two of us can get together and gang up on High Rise East." The spirited students said they are considering changing the message every night, especially since they are seeing other students looking at their window daily. One message they are considering is "O.J. did it." "I think it's awesome," said College sophomore Ruby Arguilla, who ran full speed across the grass in front of HRN in order to read the message. "It's so true." HRS resident Graham Dickson said he does not take offense to the message. "It's amusing," the Engineering sophomore said. "It's in the holiday spirit, I guess." He added that if he had a lot of time and the necessary lights, he might try to launch a defensive message. "But I'm on a low floor so I don't think I'd bother," Dickson said. And Residential Living Director Gigi Simeone, who has not seen the display, said the students are not violating any rules of Residential Living. "I don't think that if they're in their room, the lights themselves should be a problem," she said.
and Josh Sherman More than 300 people brought umbrellas into Center City on Friday. But it was not raining. A black umbrella procession to John F. Kennedy Plaza began the celebration of the sixth annual Day Without Art -- Philadelphia's observance of World AIDS Day. Leaving from four downtown sites, participants converged by the city's famous LOVE sculpture to hear speeches recognizing those stricken with AIDS -- particularly artists. About 20 University students, faculty members and employees attended the march. They said the convergence of the processions symbolized the world coming together for a common cause. "The most powerful thing for me was that as we were walking in, there were three other groups descending at the same time and there was such a showing of support," Institute of Contemporary Art Education Curator Susan Witmer said. The ceremony started with the reading of names of AIDS victims. Each name was followed by a drumbeat from the Philadelphia High School for Girls drum corps. This was followed by speeches from various members of the Philadelphia community, including Mayor Ed Rendell. Speakers urged the crowd to do more than march and donate money, but to also write Congress. To commemorate the arts, Bucks County Poet Laureate River Huston, who is HIV-positive, read a poem entitled "Death Is for the Dead." The Unity Fellowship Church choir sang "Soon I Will Be Done." This year's celebration drew 300 people, compared with last year's 500. Philadelphia Museum of Art spokesperson David Singer said he did not know the cause for the decrease in participation. But Witmer was pleased with the involvement of University students. "I think [the turnout] was good," she said. "Of course, we'd always like to have more students." Witmer said every city observes World AIDS Day differently and that Philadelphia's tradition is special. "It's fairly unique," she said. "Cities do different things. The umbrella procession is unequaled." The city observed Day Without Art in other ways too, many of which incorporated the city's children. Singer said the Philadelphia Museum of Art displayed a special exhibition, entitled "Think Twice: An AIDS Story," which was created by Philadelphia area junior and senior high school students. It also hosted a poetry reading by poet Tom Andrews yesterday. And Witmer said the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the American Red Cross and the School District of Philadelphia sponsored an essay contest that asked students what the world would be like without art.
Dining Services Director Bill Canney said yesterday that the University is seriously considering ending the World Fast for Hunger campus charity drive because students on meal plan are unhappy with the program. Some said they felt inconvenienced because McClelland Express, the snack bar in the Quadrangle, was closed Thursday night as part of the event. But a more serious flaw has been found within the program -- only a fraction of the price of the meals students gave up for the charity was actually donated to the cause. The University's 15th annual Fast was part of Hunger and Homelessness Week, co-sponsored by the Penn Volunteer Network and Dining Services. Students who gave up meals last Thursday raised money for Oxfam America, an international hunger relief organization. The program raised about $1,100 for the charity this year, according to Canney. But Oxfam only received an average of $3.87 for each of the 284 participants. According to Canney, $2.51 per participant was donated to Oxfam for a lunch, $3.65 was donated for a dinner, and $6.16 was donated for a combined lunch and dinner pledge. Standard prices of meals on different meal plans range from $5.57 per meal on the 15-meal per week plan, to $10.25 per meal on the plan that allows students to eat any five meals per week. Canney said he could not donate the full price of meals because of fixed costs that still must be paid regardless of how many students eat. "There's still electricity being paid and labor that's still there," Canney said. "It's based on the plate cost -- the cost of the food that an average student would consume in a meal." College and Engineering sophomore Tali Vardi said she is upset that only some of her donated meal will benefit the hungry. "If I was donating the meal, I was expecting that it would go to all of the charity," she said. College sophomore Gwen Baron said she felt she had been tricked. "I was misled into thinking that all of the money was donated to charity," she said. "If I had known how little money was donated then I never would have done it. There are other, better ways to help the homeless." Canney said he began considering eliminating the Fast after students complained when McClelland Express was closed Thursday night because of the program. "It was like people were saying, 'Is Dining trying to rip us off?' " he said. "I'm beginning to think that World Fast is a no-win program." Canney said he may replace the fund-raising campaign next year with an educational role-playing game sponsored by Oxfam called "Hunger Banquet," a program in which the University had participated before it began the Fast fund-raising campaign. If Canney decides to enact the program next year, up to 200 students will be able to sign up for the activity in advance and the participants will be divided into three groups -- the First World, the Second World and the Third World. The First World students will enjoy a first-class meal served restaurant-style, complete with candlelight and violin players. The Second World students will engage in the normal buffet-style meal, and the Third World students will sit on the floor and eat beans and rice out of pots and pans. The activity is aimed to teach students what it is like to live in other cultures and socioeconomic standings. Canney said that when the University held a "hunger banquet" while he was the manager of Stouffer Dining Commons, the activity taught a lesson but also raised discord among students. "Students chosen for the Third World were very upset that they didn't get filet mignon and candlelight," he said. Canney added that if adopted, the activity would probably take place the Thursday before Thanksgiving and would be accompanied by a guest speaker.
Diners can't eat at McClelland McClelland Express, the snack bar in McClelland Hall in the Quadrangle, was closed Thursday because of the World Fast for Hunger fundraising campaign -- just as it has for the past few years. But students on meal plan suffered hunger pangs themselves when they were unable to redeem missed meals that night. And their stomachs were not the only things grumbling. Because of complaints, Dining Services Director Bill Canney said he plans to keep the snack bar open next year. "It's a good cause and it would be a shame for it to be destructive," he said. "We try to listen to the students." Canney said the World Fast for Hunger, which raised approximately $1,000 this year, was one of the last events included in last week's Hunger and Homelessness Week. Students who participated in the fundraising campaign gave up their dining plan meals Thursday. A portion of the cost of each meal saved was donated to Oxfam America, an international hunger relief foundation. Canney said that the snack bar in McClelland is closed every year during this event to clear up confusion for students who had pledged a meal. Students can exchange one missed meal per day for snacks at McClelland Hall. "If a meal was deducted, then there was a lot of misunderstanding that they could use a meal they had already given up," Canney said. But many students were unhappy with this policy, and several demonstrated by writing on the sign announcing the closing of the snack bar. "How is me not eating going to help?" one student wrote. Others were confused about the closing, since shutting down the snack bar does not actually result in cash for the cause. "I don't see what McClelland has to do with world hunger," College freshman Jonathan Kromberg said. "If there's food they're donating to a charity that's fine, but to close it for no reason -- I just don't see the relation," he added. Wharton freshman J. D. Slosburg also said he was annoyed by the Dining Services policy. "If they're giving the food to the homeless, that's one thing, but if they're just trying to keep it so they make a little money, it's a whole different story," he said. And one student said he thought that the closing of the snack bar in McClelland could have been better publicized. "I think it was a bad idea to not even tell us," College freshman Morgan Blackwell said. "They just took the meal away and we don't get anything back," he added.
College sophomore Valerie Schneider will go down in history as a "Woman of the Ivy League." But she did not pose nude in Playboy magazine. Schneider submitted an essay to a literary magazine entitled Women of the Ivy League, which was created in response to the Playboy pictorial of the same name that appeared in the October issue. Forty-five Ivy League women worked together to produce the 32- page booklet, which contains pictures, poems and stories by women about women dealing with issues such as homosexual and heterosexual relationships, rape and body image. Yale sophomore and co-editor Sarah Russell said the magazine was modeled after a similar booklet that was released in 1986 by female Yale students after Playboy published a "Women of the Ivy League" pictorial that year. Russell said the magazine is not a protest of Playboy, but rather a response. "We liked the idea behind it because it was a positive way of responding instead of making the women feel bad who posed," Russell said. "We wanted to do something positive, that would make people think and would give women more of a chance to express themselves the way they wanted to be seen." In compiling submissions for the booklet, Russell called the women's centers of all of the Ivy League schools. Thirty-five students submitted work. Yale sophomore and co-editor Kyla Carrigan said every Ivy except Princeton and Columbia was represented. "We tried to be as inclusive as possible and we tried to put stuff in the magazine -- at least one piece of work from everyone who submitted work to us," she said. Although they were invited to, no women who posed in Playboy submitted work. Ten Yale students put together the issue, but when it was time to print the 5,000 copies, the editors ran into funding problems. "We had a little bit of trouble raising money," Carrigan said. "Sarah had written to a lot of feminist organizations and none of them responded. It was kind of a problem." In desperation, Carrigan and Russell wrote to the 1986 Yale alumnae who wrote the original magazine. These women agreed to fund the production and publication of the current magazine. Once it was published, Carrigan and Russell sent out copies of the magazine to each university, where students distributed them. Schneider, who received the magazine, asked representatives of the Penn chapter of the National Organization of Women to pass them out on Locust Walk a few weeks ago. "Women should be able to express themselves in whatever way they want, and this a good way for them to do so," said NOW President Alisha Berry, a College senior. Russell said that there are currently no plans to produce additional issues. "I don't think I have the energy to do this whole magazine again," she said. "But it would be nice to see more magazines of this type come out."
ROTC color guard dazzles crowds The crowd squinted as the row of cadets crossed the field in perfect symmetry. Three flags led the group as they traveled the yard lines of Franklin Field before the cadets presented themselves to the University, their shining helmets gleaming in the sunlight. The color guard, part of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, dazzled fans at the Penn football game against Princeton earlier this month. They will also be appearing at several basketball games this season. More recently, the ROTC squad presented the flags of the Army and the United States at the Philadelphia Eagles football game last Sunday in Veterans Stadium. "The cadets had a lot of fun and it was an opportunity to see all the different forces," said Military Science Instructor Gavin Tunderman. "They stood tall, proud, representing the Army as they always do." For their debut on the national level -- the Eagles game was broadcast nationally -- the guard joined other area color guards on the field and formed a 'V' for Victory and for Veteran's Day. They then presented the flags and proceeded off the field before the game began. This appearance in the Vet was a shining point for the color guard. The ROTC program has had a color guard since throughout its entire life at Penn. But since Tunderman's arrival last year, the program has been rejuvenated. Tunderman said he has been a part of five different color guards during his 18 years of service in the Army and still enjoys it as much today as he did when he began. "I get goose chills every time I carry the national colors, because after 18 years of service, that's what I stand for," he said. Penn's color guard is made up of 12 men and women. All are members of ROTC who volunteer extra time to participate in the activities. The group practices after the normal ROTC labs -- the physical training sessions that take place at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday mornings. Gonzalez said that he and his fellow squad members do not participate in color guard because it is fun. "By doing the color guard at home football and basketball games it allows us to show the pride for the University, our country and what we do," he explained.
"You are an alien from the planet Mensana about to embark on an intense, four-month expedition to study the most complex species found on the planet Earth -- the human. You are to report the findings of your research every two weeks and report to mission meetings once a week for three hours. Good luck." Although this seems like a scene from a science-thriller film, it is actually an excerpt of the syllabus of Psychology Professor Justin Aronfreed's out-of-the-ordinary course, "Human Nature." The class has been chosen as one of this semester's 10 most highly requested undergraduate courses. The list was released by the University last week. University spokesperson Barbara Beck said the classes on the list were included on the basis of demand -- how fast the class fills up and whether there is a waiting list for the class. Unlike Aronfreed's course, Philosophy Professor Jay Wallace's "Ethics" course has "very traditional subject matter," Wallace said. But he said the subject matter and readings are somewhat complex and he strives to teach his class as well as he can. "I'm always dissatisfied with how I teach the course and I go back and see how I can make it more intelligible," he said. "I try to be accessible to students with review and discussion sections." "Cell Biology and Biochemistry," which is a requirement for the molecular biology concentration of the biology major, is also often taken by chemistry majors or curious pre-med students. The class is co-taught by Biology professors Sally Zigmond and Richard Schultz. Several students said the course is very difficult and should not be taken by non-majors. "We all wish we hadn't taken this class," said a student who did not want to be named. "We all would rather die. It's one of the toughest courses I've taken at Penn. You can study 40 hours for it and still fail." "Brain and Behavior," a major requirement for Biological Basis of Behavior majors, is also taught by multiple professors. "We've had eight different teachers, because each teacher specializes in a different topic," College junior Paola Ayora said. Two freshman seminars also made the top 10 list. "Animals and Society," which is taught by Veterinary School Professor Charles Newton, features different speakers on animal-related issues. It was described by many students as "a gut." But not all freshman seminars are thought of as easy. Aronfreed said his seminar, "Human Nature," which boasts a waiting list of over 100 students, is aimed toward intellectually stimulated students who are ready to read a wide range of readings, from the Bible to modern science journals. He said the alien theme of his class was designed to foster an objective study of the species. "We don't get involved with any emotional, moral or philosophical issues," Aronfreed said. "We're not interested in what humans think their agenda is -- just of how nature disposes of them. "But I sometimes have to remind them of human customs like reminding them to go to the Princeton game -- you know, mingle with the humans," he added.
After 38 years at the University as both a student and an employee, Deputy Vice Provost for University Life George Koval retired this week. Koval had been deputy vice provost for University Life since 1977. His position will not be replaced. "I think he is the best of Penn -- someone who personalizes the institution in a way that is unforgettable," VPUL Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum said. "He always put students first. That's his legacy he leaves to all of us." Koval was recruited from upstate Pennsylvania to play football for Penn in 1957. He enjoyed great success on the varsity team as the quarterback and captain. And during his senior year, Penn lost only one game. Off the field, he was a student in Wharton and member of the Sphinx Senior Honor Society. After graduation, Koval went to work in Penn's Student Employment Office and coached football as well. This started him on an extremely wide-ranging career in student service at the University. He has worked in almost every office in the VPUL -- including Student Financial Services, WXPN radio, Residential Living and Residential Maintenance. Almost 250 members of the University community honored Koval Wednesday at a reception in the Penn Tower Hotel. McCoullum presented Koval with a "Resolution of Appreciation Award." Koval's colleagues also paid tribute to their friend in a series of speeches. He was described as an avid golfer, lottery-player and "a simple country boy," by various friends. Associate VPUL Larry Moneta, who gave Koval a football on behalf of the Athletic Department and the VPUL, affectionately related how Koval got all the way through his career without ever using e-mail -- although it got harder and harder for him as time progressed. "It was either send an e-mail or retire," Moneta joked. "So he decided to retire." In his speech, Koval was very thankful to the colleagues who have befriended him throughout his time at the University. He said he was admitted to Penn in exchange for nine Saturdays of football per year for four years. "I know I got the better deal," he said. "Thirty-six days has parleyed into a pretty good career."
OFSA official says chapter won't reclaim former house After three years in exile, the Penn chapter of the Theta Xi fraternity has been officially re-recognized as a colony at the University. The colony will eventually apply to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs for official recognition as a chapter, but there is no chance the fraternity will regain its former house on Locust Walk, according to OFSA Assistant Director for Programming Tom Carroll. The group has 20 members and is looking into recruiting new members and finding a house for next year, according to Theta Xi Fraternity Headquarters Associate Executive Director Stu Manewith. The Omicron chapter of Theta Xi was kicked off campus and out of its house in 1992, after the property sustained severe damage from a party and for "membership practices that contradicted with fraternity policies," Manewith said. But after a ceremony Saturday attended led by officials from Theta Xi headquarters, the group has been given a chance to make a fresh start. "We're all very enthusiastic and excited to be a part of Theta Xi," said a member of the chapter who wished to remain anonymous. "We're still trying to establish ourselves and get ourselves on our feet." Headquarters officials are equally excited about the resurgence of the Omicron chapter. "We're thrilled because we have a very long history at the University of Pennsylvania," Manewith said. "The chapter had been in operation for at least 70 years, so we're delighted that the chapter had an opportunity to return to the campus." Alumni involvement will play an integral role in the chapter's re-founding, according to Manewith. "The national fraternity insisted that there be a strong level of alumni involvement as far as advice and programming," he said. "It's going to be a new start with the students and over 800 alumni." Manewith also said the leaders of the chapter participated in leadership training this weekend to learn efficient methods of operating a fraternity chapter. Alumni of the Penn chapter of Theta Xi are currently looking for a property for next fall. Manewith said the alumni will rent a house for the chapter for the next year or two, and is raising funds to buy a house for them near campus. Carroll said the group could rent a property from the University sometime in the future. Presently, there is no space available. University President Judith Rodin announced last year that the Penn Women's Center will occupy the former site of the Theta Xi fraternity house beginning next fall. As a colony on campus, Theta Xi will immediately renew its membership in the InterFraternity Council. "They were always a strong chapter, we're always happy to grow," College senior and IFC President Dave Treat said.
As the announcer called her name, Stephanie Kleban drew in a quick breath. Her friends began screaming and hugging her. The College and Wharton senior jumped out of her seat and started running down the aisle, following the infamous directions of announcer Rod Roddy -- "Come on down: You're the next contestant on The Price Is Right!" Kleban and four other Penn students traveled to Los Angeles during fall break and sat in the studio audience of the popular game show And although Kleban was "called down," she did not make it out of Contestants' Row. The students said their day in Television City, Calif. was long and fun-filled. But getting to watch the show in person was not as easy as they thought it would be. "You have to wait on line for tickets," College senior Liz Feld said. "Then you have to go through all of these waiting processes to find out whether you're gong to see the show in the studio audience." After receiving tickets, Feld said audience members met with the producers of the show in order for the producers to select potential contestants. "The producers sit in the back of the building of Television City and you walk by them and they ask you a lot of questions," she said. Feld said that the producers seemed to like Kleban right away. "There were six of us from Penn and they like groups," she said. "They figured it would be nice to call someone up from the group. And Stephanie has a very bubbly personality, which is supposedly what they look for." Kleban said one of the reasons she might have been picked was that she had more of an opportunity to talk. "I was the first person in our group of ten and I just started talking," she said. "I had the opportunity to say a few more words than everyone else. My friends were like, 'If they're going to pick anyone, it's going to be you.' " The students said that when they entered the studio, it was much smaller than it seems on television. They were surprised to find it adorned in green, red and silver. As they found out later, the show they saw will be aired the week of Christmas. Before the show started, Feld said the show's announcer introduced himself to the studio audience. "Rod Roddy comes out and tells a few dirty jokes and they tell you the show is for Christmas and that all of the prizes were Christmas gifts," she said. "We were laughing at ourselves for being there because it was so cheesy." The group watched the filming of the show and had almost lost all hope of becoming contestants when Kleban was summoned to Contestants Row before the last round of the show. Kleban ran down the aisle and had to bid on an oven along with four other contestants. "I had to bid first," she said. "I was nervous and I looked to my friends -- and they had no clue." Kleban called out $975 and overbid. The winner bid $1. Although she did not get to participate in the Showcase Showdown or even ascend to the stage and play a pricing game with Bob Barker, Kleban said she had a great time just appearing on the program. "It would have been great to have won, but it was great that one of us was called down," she said. "Winning a four-poster bed or carpet wouldn't have done me any good right now, because I have no place to put it."
College freshman Vanessa Clumeck was tired of being one of the only women at College Republican meetings. So Clumeck founded the University of Pennsylvania Federation of Republican Women -- a group that she says will address a Republican agenda more sensitive to women's issues. The group, which is a chapter of a national organization of which she is a member in her home town of Orange County, Calif., seeks to promote Republican women candidates, increase the number of women Republicans and boost the image of the GOP among women. "We want to get the message out to women that the Republican party isn't hurting women, but actually helping them, by trying to encourage responsibility and prevent them from having five or six more children on welfare," she said. Clumeck said the College Republicans did not address as many women's issues as she would have liked. She also said the group is too conservative for her tastes. "They're really welcoming and warm, but they don't really address women's issues, mainly just Republican issues," she said. College Republicans President Dan Debicella agreed that his club does not focus on women's issues and believes that Clumeck's club will fill a niche on campus. "They serve two different needs," the Wharton senior said. "The College Republicans does deal with issues that affect Americans as a whole. We don't spend a lot of time addressing issues that are specific to women." He said that the Federation of Women Republicans is a good counterpart to his club. "I think there's always been this kind of mystique that women are a heavily Democratic group and I don't think that's true at all," he said. "This gives the women in our club an outlet to discuss issues that are very specific to women." But what is good for one is not necessarily good for all. Eric Roberson, the president of College Democrats, said his group does not necessitate a women's component. "I understand why they did it as Republican women, but I think we are a little more associated with women's issues in general," the College senior said. "I think that in the Republican party there is a deep division forming between the arch-conservative wing and the moderate wing of the party, and I'm not sure if they've figured out how to include everyone into their platform." Clumeck said the National Federation of Republican Women does not take a stance on many issues, so as not to scare away potential members. "[Members] don't take a stand either way," she said. "They try not to frighten away anybody. They try to embrace everybody, which is what I want to make sure we do." Clumeck said the main credo of her new organization is to stand behind Republican women locally and nationally. "We just take everybody and come together with the fact that we're Republicans and that we want to get more women in office," she said. College freshman Peter Wright, who is a member of both Republican clubs, said that he prefers the agenda of Clumeck's club. "I think the leader is well organized and I think it will get a lot done this year," he said, adding that Clumeck's agenda "is a lot more inclusive of ideas that are more in tune with what college kids want to be doing and the ideas and philosophies that they want represented than the College Republicans." Penn's Federation of Republican Women plans to meet twice a month, with social and more serious activities alternating at each gathering. The next meeting is scheduled for tomorrow at 7 p.m. in room 301 in Houston Hall.
Careful observers may have noticed a marked decline in the amount of hummus consumed on campus. This shortage can possibly be attributed to the absence of Rami's Lebanese Luncheonette on 40th Street. The popular campus food truck was struck by a car speeding through a red light at the intersection of 58th and Spruce streets two weeks ago. It was flipped on its side and its owner, Sami Dakko of Havertown, suffered back and neck injuries, a broken finger and various abrasions. The truck's left side is now smashed and Dakko is in physical therapy. The popular Middle Eastern food truck has inhabited the same spot for 10 years, according to Dakko. And he said he wants to come back as soon as possible. "Sure I'm going to come back," he said. "This is my living. I have nothing else to do. If I could, I'd be back tomorrow." Dakko said, however, that because of the length of time it takes for his insurance company to pay for the repairs to his truck, he does not know when he will return. Joe Casey, of Joe and Barbara's Food Simplistic lunch truck on 40th Street in between Spruce and Locust streets, said that Sami comes to visit and keep up with his clientele every few days. And Pete Karalis, of Pete's Food Truck said he is sorry that Sami is hurt and talks to him every day on the cellular phone he keeps in his truck. "I miss him," he said. "He's my good friend." Students are also feeling the loss of Rami's Luncheonette and its Middle Eastern cuisine. College senior Beth Tritter used to eat at Rami's every day, and has been looking for the truck ever since its disappearance. "They're the nicest people," she said. "They know me by name. Their falafel is the best outside of the Middle East. I even went to the other falafel guy once and I feel like a traitor." Wharton sophomore Jed Prevor also said he misses Rami's "really good food." "I was wondering why they weren't there anymore because they were very popular on this side of campus and they always had a line," he said. "People in my house thought that he went on a vacation in the Middle East."
An off-campus power outage left about 100 students without power for more than five hours yesterday as workers tried to fix the damaged wires that caused the problem. According to PECO Energy employee Rob Harvey, high winds caused a rotted tree branch to fall, severing electrical wires on Chancellor Street between 40th and 41st streets at about noon yesterday. Although live wires carrying 13,200 volts of electricity lay exposed on the ground for a few hours, Harvey said, no one was injured. Philadelphia and University police, Bell Atlantic and PECO all responded to the safety hazard almost immediately. College junior Jake Rosenberg said he was walking down Chancellor Street right before the explosion and that he "almost got killed by it." "It hit power lines and a transformer and huge blue flames were coming off it," he added. Rosenberg said he walked under the power lines less than 10 seconds after they fell and that he actually saved his friend and himself from life-threatening danger. "My friend that I was walking with is very into stopping and looking into things and he wanted to stop and look at a blue plastic bag that was blowing around in the wind," Rosenberg said. "I said, 'It's just the wind.' I saved our lives." Students who lived in the buildings surrounding the scene of the explosion were left without power from about noon until about 5 p.m. when the damage was repaired. They said that their day was severely inconvenienced. "It's pitch black in our house and I'm stuck here because there are no lights and I'm not even going to attempt to go downstairs," said College junior Melissa Shingles, who lives on 41st Street. Other students stayed out of their houses all day because of the explosion. "We just had to leave," said College senior Courtney Miller, who also lives on 41st Street. "We live in the basement and no light can get in anyway." Students said the biggest setbacks caused by lack of power were not being able to hear the ring of cordless telephones, having food spoil in warm refrigerators and not being able to watch Sunday football games.
Though Houston Hall is always packed at about noon, it was even more difficult than usual to find a seat for lunch on Friday. The Hall of Flags was converted into a concert hall Friday afternoon for a performance from the up-and-coming alternative music groups Marry Me Jane and The Rake's Progress. Almost 500 people were in Houston Hall at the time of the concert, according to SPEC Concerts Director Mike Parker, a College senior. The show was the second concert in the Social Planning and Events Committee's free concert series entitled "New Music Afternoon," Parker said. Some said they went to the show because they wanted to see an up-and-coming band in action. "Marry Me Jane is actually going to get really big," College senior Brian Green said. "I had never seen them before -- they put on a good show. The singer had a lot of energy. I was impressed." Green, who is the music director of Penn's student-run radio station, WQHS, added that Houston Hall was a good location for a lunchtime concert. "I didn't think it would go off as well as it did," he said. "But once they started, it was flawless. You have people who can get a free show while they eat or study. It's a relaxed atmosphere for the bands." Marry Me Jane, which opened for The Rake's Progress Friday at Philadelphia's Khyber Pass, is enjoying a very exciting ride on the road to success. Eight songs from the modern rock group's upcoming record have been chosen for the soundtrack of the soon-to-be-released Tri-Star movie If Lucy Fell, starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Elle McPherson and Ben Stiller. The film will be released in February, according to the band's manager, Julie Levine. And the music cable channel VH1 has targeted the group for a documentary tentatively entitled "Making It," as part of an attempt to shake the channel's mellow reputation. "An alum from [the University], Chris Vicente, has been a producer on a show called Flix and heard the group and was really knocked out," Levine said. Vicente is "chronicling their career from getting signed to making their records to hopefully success," she added. The Rake's Progress started this year's SPEC concert series last Friday. The band liked playing in Houston Hall so much that they decided to return. "We got such a great reaction that we wanted to come back and do it all over again," said the group's manager Pati DeVries. Parker said Penn is becoming a place where performers want to play repeatedly on the way to stardom. "It's become an attractive place to play," he said. "They think it's part of the circuit." According to DeVries, The Rake's Progress currently has a contest running at Discovery Discs that will reward whoever can best describe the most outrageous party ever thrown. The prize is a concert from the group and a cash reward. The contest ends November 3. The Rake's Progress has also been enjoying television coverage -- the video for their song "I'll Talk My Way Out of This One," has been featured on Beavis and Butthead. "They talk about the cows in the video basically," DeVries said. "They don't put down the band. It's very complimentary -- it's flattering." Parker added that this concert series brought pop star Dionne Farris to the University last year during the week in which her hit single became No. 1 on the singles chart.
The lights were low and the place was packed. As the music flooded the room, some people talked to their friends, while others tapped a foot or nodded their heads. They thought they were just going out for a night on the Penn social scene. But what the patrons of Smokey Joe's didn't know Tuesday night was that they had entered "Kweder's Kitchen." The "South Street Bard," as Kenn Kweder has been affectionately dubbed by the Philadelphia media, made his comeback performance after an arm injury that kept him from performing for more than three months. Kweder, a native of West Philadelphia, has been composing music since 1971. He has written about 200 songs and has had four records released on a small label called Pandemonium. He has recently received acclaim in Rolling Stone magazine and has received awards such as the Delaware Valley Music Poll's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992 and the Philadelphia Music Foundation's Best Album of the Year Award for his 1989 release "Man Overboard." But even though local fame has found him, the guitar player, singer and songwriter has not wavered from his initial goal of making good music, which he calls "drinking in the kitchen music." Kweder says the genre is best described as "when you're with your friends and almost drunk and someone's playing a good song and you're in the kitchen and you don't feel any social pressures." "If you're in Kweder's Kitchen, then you're OK, baby," he said. As a child of the 1960s, Kweder said he has had quite an exciting life. A shy teenager, he studied English and communication at Temple University in order to break out of his shell. "I had a hard time communicating with people, especially with girls," he said. "And it helped me write songs." At 19 he began performing shows around Philadelphia, in New York and even internationally -- he has performed in England, Holland and Scandinavia, where he performed 67 shows in 75 days last year. Kweder said he does not earn enough money from his music to pay his bills, so he has to perform odd jobs to make up the difference. "I just love music so much that I'll park cars and bartend in order to play," he said. "It's worth the sacrifice of being behind the bar." Kweder's music has been compared to that of Roger McGuinn and Lou Reed, and audience members tend to agree. College senior Blas Nunez-Neto called Kweder "folksy." That folksy quality has made Kweder a perennial favorite at Smoke's. "The students love him, and it's original music," Smoke's owner Paul Ryan said. "He's a rock star -- he draws." Considering Kweder's popularity in bars and taverns, it is not surprising that alcohol plays a major part in his performances. "For some reason I like it when I'm drinking a lot," he said. "Because the more embarrassing I can get, the more fun I can have." He did not have a drink until he was 20 years old, but Kweder said that alcohol -- which he calls a "bad habit" -- also plays a role in his everyday life. "I'm into working hard and playing hard," he said. "I'm into enjoying life. If that involves a couple bottles of wine, you go back to work the next day." Kweder, who is 43 years old, has never been married, but says he may wed someday. "I was afraid I'd have to compromise and forfeit my love of music and I'd be unhappy," he said. "I'd want to be happy so I'd make [her] happy." Kweder recently released his latest album, entitled, "Kenn Kweder." He said it was his most trying yet. "It's really hard to get fertile again," he said. "I've written a couple of hundred songs and sometimes I don't know if I can write another. But I do." Kweder said he stays with the music business because big-time success may be right around the corner. "Just when I'm ready to quit I'll win an award or something," he said. "You've got to stay in the ballgame to hit the home run. I'm just waiting for the right pitch."
Just by browsing the Web, you can help Penn win a free concert. But you must log on quickly. As a promotion of Ticketmaster's new Word Wide Web site, the company is offering a free concert by the upcoming alternative band Everclear to the college with the most students who register on the web site. And so far, Penn is in the lead. There are 35 schools in competition for the show. Boston University is just behind in second place, and the University of Texas follows at third. Penn and Boston University have been trading the top spot back and forth for the duration of the contest. "[Penn is] neck and neck with Boston University, right around 550 entries," Ticketmaster's Senior Vice President of New Media Alan Citron said. "It's weird. It's going back and forth every day." Capitol Records, which is co-sponsoring the concert, will send the first 20,000 students who register on its home page a compilation compact disc of many Capitol recording artists. The contest began September 25 and the 20,000 limit has not yet been met. Regional Ticketmaster spokesperson Connie Bottaro, who is keeping track of Penn's participation in the contest, said she hopes it keeps its first place spot. "I can't wait to bring Everclear here to University of Penn," she said. "I hope we can keep our strong lead and overcome the other universities." College senior Mike Parker, director of concerts for the Social Planning and Events Committee, said that if the University won the contest, his organization would have to find a place to hold the concert. Irvine Auditorium is the most likely candidate, he said. If not, the concert could be held outdoors. Parker added that the band was featured recently in Rolling Stone magazine and that it would normally cost approximately $6,000 to $8,000 for the University to book. The entire SPEC concert budget for this year is $20,000. Parker described Everclear as a talented, innovative band. "They're a good band, but I don't think they'd sell out," he said. Other prizes offered in the contest include a trip to see the alternative music group Blind Melon in concert and the honor of being Master of Ceremonies at the Everclear concert, which will go to the most creative entry from the winning school. To enter the contest, students should log on to the Ticketmaster web site at http://www.ticketmaster.com and complete a registration form. The contest ends October 20.
God Street Wine to perform at SPEC winter concert The Social Planning and Events Committee announced yesterday that the alternative music group God Street Wine will be performing on campus December 7. The five-man band hailing from New York City will play at Irvine Auditorium and tickets will cost less than $10, according to SPEC Co-Director of Concerts Mike Parker. The concert will also feature one or two opening bands which will be chosen later this week, the College senior added. SPEC senior member Erin McKeon, a College sophomore, described the band's music as "Earth rock." "People who like their music tend to like Phish and Rusted Root," she said. "It's very groove, improvisation-oriented. It's very upbeat, dance music, but not techno dance music, real music." McKeon said that the group currently has no songs on the radio, but is very big on the "underground scene." Parker said SPEC has been trying to book many bands for their concerts in the past, such as the Dave Matthews Band and Big Head Todd and the Monsters. He said that taking into account many factors -- such as scheduling problems and price -- God Street Wine was the best choice for the University this semester. He would not disclose how much SPEC is paying the band to appear. SPEC's total concert budget is $20,000. "It is better for us not to squander ourselves bringing the really big acts, but rather play a band that's on the cutting edge," Parker said. Co-Director of SPEC Concerts Vivek Tiwary said he thinks the band's relative newness makes it a good match for the University. "They're sort of a beginning point on their career, and I think it's a good time to introduce them to people," the Wharton and College senior said. "They like to play shows and they happened to have a schedule that conformed to ours, but I wouldn't say that they were a band that was easy to book." Parker said one of SPEC's biggest obstacles to bringing bands to campus is the lack of adequate concert space. "We don't have a good space to throw a concert," he said. "The Palestra is a tin can, and not available very much because of the basketball team. The outdoors isn't always an option because of the weather. Irvine [Auditorium], with 1,800 seats, is too small to hold a group such as Rusted Root." This year, SPEC will rent a better sound system, Parker said, because the one rented in years past was inadequate. "God Street Wine is a band that is valued for its concert sound," he said. Parker also said that competition from promoters such as Electric Factory Concerts is a major impediment to booking big-name bands at the University. "We are constantly bidding with someone like them," he said. "They develop relationships because of their position. Bands give them considerations." SPEC is also bringing The Rake's Progress to campus October 20 and is working on scheduling a band for "Breaking Down the Walls," a party sponsored by SPEC, the InterFraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council and the BiCultural Inter-Greek Council.