We know what Penn tour guides are saying to prospective students. But what aren’t they saying?
Kite and Key: As we walk along this scenic, wooded boulevard, try to take in all the history and prestige of Locust Walk. Penn icons such as the compass, the button, and the Ben Franklin statue line this shaded stroll, only adding to its historic ambience. The bustling nature of the walk is a daily reminder of all the culture and diversity Penn has to offer.
Ego: The walk down Locust is time best utilized asserting your social relevance-—nod and wave to people you met once freshman year. If you have no friends, consider taking Walnut. Attempt to avoid the barrage of flyers and categorized–by–race–or–religion a cappella groups trying to convince you to join or attend. Take in the significance and depth of the historical and defining icons along the walk, but keep in mind they are primarily used for urination or intercourse.
Kite & Key: As you might have already guessed, the Engineering Quad houses the School of Engineering, haha. Probably the most exciting feature of this school is its senior final projects; the zamboni that clears the toast off Franklin Field was actually made by Penn students!
Ego: This is where you’ll invariably have all of your early morning language classes. It doesn’t make much sense, but neither does a giant vacuum that inefficiently sucks up bread.
Kite & Key: Housing a staggering collection of rare manuscripts, reference materials and, of course, books, Van Pelt is most students’ favorite go–to study spot. The basement houses Mark’s Café, a delightful refueling station for late night study sessions, and the ground floor features the highly social, high–tech Weigle Information Commons.
Ego: Housing a soul–deflating collection of sleeping students, broken water fountains and, of course, discarded Adderall bottles, Van Pelt is an awkwardly constructed hell zone of all–nighters and double panic attacks. The basement houses Mark’s Café, which just sucks, and, more importantly, the most hopping fake–studying social scene in the Penn Libraries universe. And don’t miss that one dicey, half–constructed elevator that still resembles a high school dropout’s final shop class project before finally giving into drug addiction and life on the streets. We recommend the stairs.
THE HIGH RISES
Kite and Key: The High Rises serve as perfect transitional housing for upperclassmen after they move from the safety and security of the Quad towards the streets of West Philadelphia. They are conveniently located in close proximity to most classes, Commons and many of popular off–campus attractions.
Ego: The housing for the misguided, misinformed and socially inept. The paper thin walls, perpetually broken elevators and wailing fire alarms are topped only by the judgmental security guards (dressing like a slut and blacking out is your prerogative) and menstrual modern artwork. Additionally, the below zero temperatures in the wind tunnel make the already painful walks of shame all the more stinging.
WYNN COMMONS/PERELMAN QUAD
Kite & Key: Penn was established in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin as the first university in the United States. As an Ivy League, we place a heavy emphasis on strong academics, but the Penn spirit runs deep through various other facets of student life. Feel free to take a moment after the tour to read all the interesting historical facts on these columns in Perelman Quad, also known as Wynn Commons.
Ego: Because our graduates make a lot of money, sometimes we have two names for the same place. When one of the donors comes to visit, we just cover the other name up with big pieces of oaktag.
Kite and Key: The imposing and impressive Huntsman Hall is the pride and joy of Wharton life at Penn. Home to some of the most technologically–advanced lecture halls in the Ivy League, an abundance of top notch group study rooms, and the awe–inspiring central forum for which it’s known, Huntsman Hall truly epitomizes the fast–paced, cutting edge Wharton experience.
Ego: While Van Pelt’s basement is very much like a frat party in a library, you’re probably going to want to wear a suit to Huntsman. But even after you’ve dropped your last name in favor of your middle on Facebook and learned to carry your leather resume carrier like an extra appendage, Huntsman still finds ways to single you out as Wharton frauds. Try logging on to a computer. On the up side, the cruelly delighted snickers of those around you when you doze on your desk at 6 a.m. is a more effective and motivating stimulant than a case of Red Bull.
Kite & Key: Welcome to historic Franklin Field, the centerpiece of Penn’s division one athletics program. Being an active part of life here is a priority for most students, whether they’re participating in student government or training to make their full–court debut at the Palestra.
Ego: Welcome to creaky/old Franklin Field, where sports go to die and, thank god, the Fling concert is held. We’re not even really sure there are enough people at Penn to fill the stadium, its grandiose size being about as necessary as your fourteen–year–old brother’s box of XXL condoms.
Kite & Key: The Quad is not only a popular housing option for freshmen, but it is also a place rife with Penn traditions like the Econ Scream and Spring Fling. Two other dorms with freshman–dominant populations are Hill and Kings Court/English House, but unfortunately, we won’t be seeing them on this tour.
Ego: Bottom line: If you don’t live in the Quad freshman year, enjoy life as a social pariah. Still, the only thing worse than never setting foot on its grassy lawn is overstaying your welcome through sophomore year. Hit it and quit it.