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Sophia DuRose | Kindness and generosity are more important than ever

(09/29/20 4:01pm)

Say you don’t have a financially stable family. Say you’ve been homeless on and off for over two years. Say you have mental health problems that require medication and hospitalization. Say you’ve been forcibly hurt, trapped, and traumatized. Say you need to spend a few months at a mental health facility. Say that facility costs thousands of dollars a month. Say you’re out of time. Say there’s a pandemic raging across the world, unemployment has been drastically decreased, and you don’t qualify for health insurance. What do you do? 

Sophia DuRose | Community engagement is important at every level

(08/02/20 12:20am)

My friend Kiera and a man named Country met when Kiera first moved to Philadelphia from Wilmington, DE to attend Temple’s Jazz Program. Unfamiliar with the area, and having grown up in a much smaller city than Philly, Kiera was a bit nervous about living in North Philly and didn't know what to expect. Luckily for her, Country, who is originally from Georgia but moved to Philly years ago, quickly befriended her after he asked her for “a little blessing” one night so he could afford some food for dinner. Kiera gave him all the spare change she had on her and offered him some snacks from her pantry. This started a lasting friendship between Kiera and Country. 

Sophia DuRose | Online classes aren’t inherently worse

(07/16/20 1:26pm)

I felt a vivid disappointment lash through me when I read the June 25th email detailing Penn’s plan for the fall semester. It became clear to me that returning to campus in the same capacity as before the spread of COVID-19 was an impossibility, and in order to appreciate the new lessons of a new semester, I would have to be open to new ways of learning. This includes letting go of my resentment for online learning, and viewing remote access to in-person education as different, not inherently lesser. 

Sophia DuRose | Difficult family conversations are a part of change

(06/27/20 4:32pm)

Difficult conversations are an important part of the political and social changes we’re experiencing right now in this country — full-throttle, infuriating, demanding, and complex conversations. The work that activists are doing to propel the current situation for Black people in America into a new age of truer freedom is necessary and amazing. We aren’t all a vital part of organizations that do this kind of work. However, we are all complicit in allowing systemic racism to remain alive if we do not do the necessary, dirty work of calling out microaggressions, dismantling harmful generalizations, and ridding our personal conversations of stereotypes. 

Sophia DuRose | Use whatever platform you have to amplify the voices of Black people

(05/31/20 8:28pm)

Being silent right now means being complicit in the systemic murder of Black people in America. The chronic weaponization of racism in the United States is being confronted and challenged by thousands of protestors in response to the murder of George Floyd. As a white person, it is necessary that I recognize my voice is not the one that needs to be listened to and amplified right now. 

Sophia DuRose | Penn’s campus is my new home

(04/28/20 7:22pm)

When I signed my lease for the 2019-2020 school year, the fact that my apartment was only 300 square feet, didn’t have a washer or dryer in the unit or the building, and came with a small refrigerator that doesn’t even open all the way due to a poor floor design didn’t really phase me. I take early classes, hate doing my schoolwork at the desk I use as a bookshelf in my apartment, and work 20 hours a week as a work-study student. I often leave my home at 7 a.m. and don’t come back until 8 p.m that evening. But then COVID-19 changed everything. 

Sophia DuRose | Penn's dining hall workers deserve better

(03/26/20 1:24am)

Over 5,000 people have signed their name on a petition calling on the University of Pennsylvania to take action against laying off 140 dining hall employees after March 31st. I signed it. My sister at UCLA signed it. My mother signed it. I sent it to my friends from Florida. I am thankful to everyone who has signed their name, especially to Amanpreet Singh, the creator of the petition. However, I should not have to sign a petition. I should not be desperately sending the link to random people scattered throughout the states who are already reeling and confused from the world’s events. Penn should be doing the right thing without student intervention, and that means not laying off 140 hard workers in the middle of a global crisis. 

Sophia DuRose | Penn must educate its student body on birth control

(12/02/19 3:42am)

Beginning in the 2013-14 academic year, all that a student on Penn’s campus needs to do to get free condoms is “just ask” the cashier at Student Health Service. This program was designed to eliminate  "barriers to students practicing safe sex." However, if Penn truly wants to commit to helping students have safe sex, it has a responsibility to be more informative and helpful when it comes to birth control. 

Sophia DuRose | Stop flyering on Locust

(11/25/19 2:37am)

Yesterday I put not one, not two, but three flyers in the recycling bin after digging them out from the bottom of my bag. All three of these small scraps of paper were handed to me on Locust Walk and, if I’m being perfectly honest, I don’t even know what events or clubs they were promoting. When a peer offers me a flyer on Locust Walk advertising their upcoming show or asking me to Venmo their club for a worthy cause, I feel rude to dismiss them because they’re putting in the work to advertise what they’re passionate about. But I promise you that I’m not going to read the flyer I’ve been handed, which ultimately makes it a waste of paper and money. Clubs on Penn’s campus can be doing more to actively combat our carbon footprints, and eliminating the practice of handing out flyers on Locust Walk is one small way to make a difference.

Sophia DuRose | The heartbeat bill poses a threat to women on our campus

(11/12/19 10:23pm)

Weeks ago, I was celebrating the fact that a federal judge had put a block on the ‘heartbeat bill’ Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed into action on May of this year. That celebratory mood wilted recently when Pennsylvania lawmakers introduced the heartbeat bill to this state. Though Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, has promised to veto any such bill, that doesn’t change the fact that if legislature overrides him, the bill would be tied up in court, and a woman’s right to choose would hang precariously in the balance. That includes women on this campus, women in the surrounding city, and women all over the state whose access to their own bodies are being debated and regulated by men in office.  

Sophia DuRose | Costumes still need to be considerate

(10/30/19 10:10pm)

Back home in Florida, I saw my fair share of offensive costumes, like little white girls swathed in Native American headdresses or perfectly able-bodied kids in wheelchairs.  But in an effort to combat the offensive and potential risk some people feel when confronted with the reinforced stereotypes that specific Halloween costumes can perpetuate, the University of Florida offers around the clock counseling number. Considering the scares coming from that state, this is an extremely beneficial resource for University of Florida students, an imposition from the administration that doesn’t affect those who remain unoffended and can only help those who are hurt by certain costumes. As Halloweekend draws nearer, Penn’s administration can follow suit with structures such as this one.