Day of Play adds some fun to the first day of classes

Organizers say the inaugural Day of Play sets the stage for future “Thriving at Penn” events that will focus on fun through community engagement.

Chatting with Penn President Amy Gutmann During Day of Play
Penn President Amy Gutmann stops by the Wellness at Penn information table during the Day of Play on College Green. 

The first day of classes at the University of Pennsylvania offered something different for students this year.

During Penn’s inaugural Day of Play, Locust Walk became a carnival of sorts, featuring activities such as pop-up trivia, oversized Jenga, chess, and checkers, miniature basketball hoop shots, photo ops, and crafts for three hours. 

Basketball during Day of Play
At the Day of Play, Wharton freshmen Jessica Yuan (left) and Kelvin Fan, along with  Elaine Tay, a freshman in the School of Arts and Sciences, shoot a few hoops on College Green.   

In addition to the activities, there was popcorn, snow cones, and other snacks, but organizers say it was designed for something bigger.

“The event is meant to just have a fun, playful vibe to encourage students to take a break on what might be a stressful day for many of our first-year students,” says Katie Hanlon Bonner, executive director of the Office of Student Affairs at Penn. “This will also help set the stage for future “Thriving at Penn” events, where the focus is on fun through community engagement.”

Crafts during Day of Play
   Two freshmen from the School of Arts and Sciences, Amanda Bello (left) and Daniel Iglesias (right), jot down inspirational messages at the 'Thriving at Penn' table, set up along Locust Walk during the Day of Play.

Activities also focused on wellness with a personal-training station that offered physical challenges, supervised by Campus Recreation, chair massages, and meditation, as well as giveaways with prizes like Penn football tickets, group exercise passes, T-shirts, buttons, and more. Penn President Amy Gutmann stopped by to talk about the importance of the Wellness at Penn Initiative and greet students during the Day of Play.

Physical Fitness Stations during Day of Play
One of the physical fitness stations set up on College Green during the Day of Play. 
Provost Pritchett at Day of Play
Provost Wendell Pritchett takes a shot at basketball during the Day of Play. 

A collaboration between the Vice Provost for University Life, Penn’s Division of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics, the Penn Traditions Program within Alumni Relations, Campus Rec, Campus Health, and the Perelman Quadrangle, most Day of Play activities centered around the LOVE sculpture across from Sweeten Alumni House on College Green.

Jenga on College Green
  During the Day of Play, first-year graduate students in the School of Arts and Sciences, Michael Greers (left), Rahim Rahimov, and Lukas Bosch, participate in an intense game of Jenga.