UPenn Traditions

December 31, 2022
By AdmissionSight

UPenn Traditions

The University of Pennsylvania, sometimes known as UPenn, is a research institution that is also a part of the prestigious Ivy League and is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is the fourth-oldest college in the United States and one of the best universities in the world, according to rankings by different publications. Throughout the years, the university has established UPenn traditions that are still practiced even today.

UPenn was established in 1740. Moreover, it is one of nine colonial organizations allowed prior to the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America. Benjamin Franklin started the university and was its first president. He wanted it to be a place where future intellectual, business, and public figures could be trained.

Being a student at UPenn does not only involve pure academics; you will also find yourself enjoying their rich traditions and learning about their worthwhile history. You will also learn how to get involved in the school’s active student communities and make friends with people from many different backgrounds.

At AdmissionSight, our commitment to guiding each student through the difficulties of the enrollment process has remained constant throughout the years. Our dependable consulting ensures that your application will bring out the best in you. In the succeeding parts of this article, we will discuss the valuable UPenn traditions and their significant contributions to the college life of a student.

Are academics at UPenn hard?

Are academics at UPenn hard? At this institution, academics are taken very seriously since it is the defining characteristic of the UPenn community, and their strong quality is practically comparable across all academic disciplines. Classes can be held in the form of a seminar (which is extremely small and focuses on discussion), a lecture (which is a large class with very little to no discussion), or a hybrid (which is a small lecture that includes some discussion).

You may expect to have some large beginning courses, as is the case in most areas. However, many also demand attendance at a more intimate recitation, which is designed to encourage more student interaction. In seminar classes, it’s easier to get involved than in large lectures, so you’ll have to take the initiative to do so if you want to do well.

View of Upenn building at day time

In larger classes, you will probably need to make an effort to get to know your professors by doing things like visiting their office hours, but the majority of them are quite kind and approachable.

It is preferable to enroll in classes with fewer students so that the instructor can recognize you by name and face; however, it is never a bad idea to approach your instructors and ask them questions, especially if you need recommendations for jobs or programs. There are those that are friendlier and more accommodating than others, but it’s important to hang on to the ones that are excellent.

Although there isn’t often a cutthroat environment in academics, a lot of students feel like they have a lot riding on them, and this can lead to them becoming competitive with one another. However, rather of studying on their own before tests, many students participate in study groups, which may be both more beneficial and more entertaining than studying alone.

With UPenn traditions, students even have the opportunity to release their stress and scream their frustrations out during Econ Scream.

Even though the vast majority of UPenn students like to have fun, the social scene almost shuts down during finals week due to their dedication to their schoolwork. Even though the number of times people talk about ideas outside of school varies from person to person, it is not unusual.

UPenn is also renowned for its Wharton School. At least one-third of Wharton students’ coursework is taught in UPenn’s other undergraduate schools, which contributes to the school’s reputation for providing an education that draws from other fields.

Wharton takes great satisfaction in its adaptable academic program, which gives first-year students the opportunity to explore interests unrelated to the business environment, such as a love for the written word or an aptitude for political science. When students use this method of teaching, they are better prepared for work after college in almost every field.

List of UPenn Traditions

What are the customs included in the list of UPenn traditions? Let us talk about them below.

Toast Throwing

It is a one-of-a-kind ceremony that is performed by large groups of Quaker supporters as a show of school spirit. At the end of the third quarter of football games, enthusiastic spectators join together to sing “Drink a Highball.”

This song makes reference to the unofficial cocktail of the University of Pennsylvania, which is called the Pennsylvanian and is made with Calvados, a dash of Madeira wine, an egg white, and a twist of lemon.

In days gone by, UPenn students would celebrate the victories of the university’s sporting teams by physically raising their glasses and making a toast. Despite the fact that they were prohibited from drinking alcohol, UPenn students were adamant about maintaining their custom of “toasting” the university.

UPenn stadium

Because of this, they were forced to do it in a very literal sense. The final line of the song is “Here’s a toast to dear old Penn,” and when it is sung, the supporters throw the toast into the air so that it lands on the sidelines.

According to a different account of how the tradition of throwing toast got started, the first piece of toast was hurled in the year 1977 by a student who got the idea while watching a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, in which members of the audience throw pieces of toast at the movie screen.

Some students have been more imaginative in their choice of projectiles in recent years, and it is not uncommon to see a shower of bagels or doughnuts, or even a loaf of French bread, coming hurtling down from the stands.

Econ Scream

As previously stated, Econ Scream is one of the unique UPenn traditions. On the night before the first Microeconomics 001 midterm test, hundreds of students, the vast majority of whom are first-years, tried to relieve their stress by taking part in a group yell on the Junior Balcony of the Lower Quadrangle.

The yell begins at midnight. Each year, the Freshman Class Board, which is a part of UPenn’s student government, holds this event as its debut board event in order to continue this long-standing tradition.


U-Night is the newest and most recent addition to the engaging UPenn traditions, and it was first held for the Class of 2021. The event is one of the four instances, along with Convocation and Hey Day, when all of the students in the sophomore class will be gathered in the same area at the same time.

Hey Day

April is the month in which some of the traditions of the class are commemorated. Class Day is a celebration that acknowledges the advancement of all classes as well as the graduation of the seniors. It was first held in 1865 as a complement to the final graduation ceremonies.

This day was amalgamated with Straw Hat Day in 1916, and it subsequently became known as the “day of two events.” These two holidays were the inspiration for the creation of Hey Day in 1931.

On this particular day, the juniors have a picnic on High Rise Field, don straw “skimmers” and canes, and then make a victorious march from Locust Walk to College Hall. This is one of the most anticipated UPenn traditions among its students.

Recently, the straw skimmers have been replaced with styrofoam hats, and now the students take turns biting chunks out of each other’s headgear. When the procession arrives at College Hall, the students form an arch with their canes to provide a warm welcome to the President of the University.

After that, both the departing and incoming presidents of the senior class deliver addresses, and at that point, the juniors are “formally” recognized as seniors. In May 2015, the institution held a ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of Hey Day.

Ivy Day

One plants ivy next to a structure, and then, as a memento of the occasion, one places what is called an “Ivy Stone” on the edifice. The day was relocated to the Saturday immediately preceding Commencement in an official capacity in 1981.

UPenn rowing team

In addition, on this day, the Spoon, Bowl, Cane, and Spade awards are presented to recognize four graduating males, while the Hottel, Harnwell, Goddard, and Brownlee awards are offered to celebrate four graduating women. These prizes are named after traditional playing cards. During the celebration, a distinguished person who has been selected by the class to deliver an address does so.

The structure that is honored with the Ivy Stone is often one that holds some sort of significance for the class that is graduating. As an illustration, in 1983, a stone was placed near the field in Franklin Field to celebrate UPenn’s first Ivy League championship since 1959. The stone was put at the yard line where the winning field goal against Harvard was kicked, giving the team at least a share of the championship.

Spring Fling

One of the most exciting UPenn traditions is the Spring Fling, wherein students get together for a party every year at the end of the spring semester. This party typically starts on the Friday of the week, which is the second-to-last week of the semester, and continues until Saturday night. The university’s Social Planning and Events Committee has been responsible for throwing Fling every year since its inception in 1973.

It is widely considered to be the largest college party held on the East Coast. The locations where the event will take place are College Green, Wynn Commons, and The Quadrangle. The College Green will be converted into a staging area for various carnival activities and food. UPenn’s many performing arts organizations use both of the stages in the Quad.

The Social Planning and Events Committee (SPEC) has been bringing events to UPenn since 1989. On Friday night, SPEC hosts a concert featuring a headline musical artist. On Saturday night, UPenn hosts a festival on College Green.

Feb Club

The Feb Club is a custom that was started at Yale and is still practiced there today. During the month of February, members of the senior class celebrate the month by attending a party or some other type of special event each and every day. People who have been to Smokey Joe’s Bar without missing a single day will have their names engraved on a plaque at the bar.

Walnut Walk

Taking advantage of UPenn’s location within the city of Philadelphia, members of the senior class participate in a day-long, citywide pub crawl. The pub crawl begins on Second Street near the waterfront and continues westward along Walnut Street until it arrives at Smokey Joe’s on 40th Street, which is just south of Walnut.

Senior Week at UPenn is a time for graduating students to commemorate their time at the university, and this event is one of the highlights of Senior Week, and one of the popular UPenn traditions.


UPenn has been carrying on the tradition of Convocation since 1910. This event represents a major milestone in the lives of undergraduate students at UPenn, despite the fact that its format may have evolved throughout the years. This is the first ceremony for the complete Class of 2025 when they all join together. They will see each other once again on Hey Day during their junior year, and then once more at Commencement during their senior year.

Penn Relays

Since the event’s inception on April 21, 1895, Franklin Field has been the location of the Penn Relays, also known as the Penn Relays Carnival, since the event’s inception. The Penn Relays is the oldest and most prestigious track and field tournament in the United States. There were 116 events held in the meet in 2012, and the number of competitors competing in the Penn Relays is more than that of any other track and field competition held elsewhere on the globe.

More than 15,000 athletes from secondary schools, universities, and track clubs from around North America and other countries, most notably Jamaica, take part in the event’s five days of competition, during which they take part in more than 300 different events.

In the course of history, the competition is credited with helping to popularize the practice of running relay races. It begins on the Sunday of the final full week in April and continues until the Saturday of the last full week in April. It is not uncommon for attendance to exceed 100,000 throughout the course of the last three days, and it has even been known to go above 50,000 on Saturday.

Glee Club Valentines

This, one of the most time-honored UPenn traditions, has taken place on a yearly basis for more than a decade now and has evolved into a pleasant sight for UPenn students and teachers during the time of Valentine’s Day. After the members of the club have been divided up into quartets, each of which consists of one tenor, two baritones, and one bass vocalist, they then go about the campus to fulfill the many order requests that have been placed in between their courses.

Does UPenn have student clubs?

Does UPenn have student clubs? At UPenn, there are more than 450 student organizations that focus on many different things, such as academics, the arts, community service, cultural groups, political groups, and recreation.

Is there a Greek life at UPenn?

Is there a Greek life at UPenn? There are a total of 48 distinct fraternities and sororities at the University of Pennsylvania, and these organizations are split up into three larger councils. These councils include the Panhellenic Council, the Interfraternity Council, and the Intercultural Greek Council. About a quarter of the student body at the University of Pennsylvania is involved in the Greek community in some way.

Does UPenn have good athletics?

Does UPenn have good athletics? As a participant in the NCAA Division I Ivy League conference, the university’s intercollegiate athletics program, known as the Quakers, has varsity teams in 33 different sports.

It plays a wide variety of conventional sports, ranging from baseball and softball to volleyball and tennis. They also have more teams than practically any other school in the country. The Red and Blue teams also compete against each other in golf, fencing, and squash, among other specialized sports.

UPenn rowing team

Unusually, UPenn is one of just ten institutions in the country that play in the sprint football competition. Players in the game, which was once known as “lightweight football,” are required to weigh no more than 178 pounds, and this includes linemen.

As a consequence of this, success in the sport is primarily dependent on a player’s speed and agility, as opposed to the usual focus on a player’s power and height, which is appreciated in traditional football. Roughly ten percent of UPenn’s undergraduate student body participates in intercollegiate athletics. In light of this, it is evident that in addition to UPenn traditions, students are also actively engaged in sporting events.

Recently, Lia Thomas, a student at UPenn, became the first openly transgender woman to win an NCAA swimming championship.

How diverse is UPenn?

How diverse is UPenn? As a whole, UPenn and its 12 schools, more than 25,000 students, and more than 4,000 faculty members come together to form a diverse and dynamic community that draws its strength from a wide range of racial and ethnic groups; genders; sexual orientations; historical traditions; ages; religions; disabilities; veteran status; interests; perspectives; and socioeconomic backgrounds.

56% of the Class of 2025 says they are of African-American, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American descent. This is a strong sign that UPenn is committed to giving its students a diverse environment.

Students working on a library while working.

UPenn traditions can surely give a lot of unforgettable memories students. Your college life at this prestigious institution won’t be complete and full of enjoyable memories without those traditions mentioned earlier. If UPenn is your dream college and learning about its remarkable traditions has strongly convinced you to enroll, we at AdmissionSight are here to provide our quality consulting service and help you achieve your goals. Contact us to learn about our service from our trusted team.







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