Find friends and fun at University activity groups

Group activities on campus give faculty and staff a chance to relax, perfect their crafts, pursue hobbies and have fun with others who share their interests.

For example, the Stitchery Therapy Group brings together women and men who enjoy embroidering, knitting, crocheting and sewing. Members meet at weekly early-evening gatherings at the Penn Women’s Center to socialize and de-stress doing needle work.

“Stitch therapy is a great way for people to build relationships without the uneasy or awkward feeling of always needing to fill the airspace with something to say,” says Club Coordinator Trinity Thorpe-Lubneuski. For more information about this group, email

For writers of all genres, including poetry, fiction and non-fiction, there is the Penn and Pencil Club, offering workshops where members can meet with other campus scribes and discuss their literary endeavors. Since 1997, the informal group has gathered monthly, usually at Kelly Writers House, to critique each other’s writing.

“There is something about getting constructive criticism that makes a difference,” says Club Coordinator Karen Murphy, adding that in many ways the give-and-take is “validating.”

The New Parents @ Penn group offers support to University-associated parents and parents-to-be. Staff, faculty, and post-doctoral students gather every few weeks for informal discussions on the joys and challenges of parenthood, and offer helpful tips to new moms and dads. Group Coordinator Salome Ricklin-Lichtensteiner says New Parents @ Penn is particularly helpful to the families of the post-doctoral students who are from other countries.

“Before my first big trip home to Europe with my kid, I got a lot of helpful information about traveling with little ones,” she says. 

New Parents @ Penn will be holding a children’s clothing swap on Oct. 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Greenfield Intercultural Center, 3708 Chestnut St. For more information, email