October 26, 2021

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TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

3 Being Adam Sandler's Extra

10 Girlboss Halloween Costumes

12 IGSP & Sharing Cultures

18 TempleTok and the Penn Bubble

22 Down North Pizza

34TH STREET EXECUTIVE BOARD Beatrice Forman, Editor–in–Chief: forman@34st.com Chelsey Zhu, Campus Editor: zhu@34st.com Mehek Boparai, Culture Editor: boparai@34st.com Karin Hananel, Assignments Editor: hananel@34st.com 34TH STREET EDITORS Eva Ingber, Features Editor Angela Shen, Features Editor Julia Esposito, Word on the Street Editor Aakruti Ganeshan, Focus Editor Emily White, Focus Editor Hannah Lonser, Style Editor Maddie Muldoon, Ego Editor Peyton Toups, Music Editor Walden Green, Arts Editor Arielle Stanger, Film & TV Editor Denali Sagner, Special Issues Editor Jesse Zhang, Multimedia Editor Kira Wang, Audience Engagement Editor 2

On conversations, canceled coffee chats, and craving attention

I

’m not sure that I’ll ever grow out of the music I liked when I was 16. If anything, I’m excited to grow more into it, to claim the bands I like for myself and not the ones I pretended to so boys would find me interesting. In tenth grade, I swapped Taylor Swift for the Misfits so that a 15–year–old with shaggy blonde hair would hold my hand during lunch. The summer before my senior year, I stomached car rides soundtracked by 6ix9ine so that I wouldn’t leave for college without knowing what second base felt like. And every summer since, I’ve slipped on a second sonic skin for acceptance. Tame Impala for Zach and J.I.D for Isaiah. OutKast for Ben and, now, the Monday Night Football theme song for someone I won’t name. All the while, I’d rather be singing along to a playlist of girl– with–guitar music, content enough to be by myself. At the risk of sounding like a red flag personified, I tend to use men as stand–ins for feelings I’ve deemed out of reach. Lately, it’s been a sense of belonging on this campus. I can’t remember when I stopped getting invited to things—parties, lunch, to ‘study’ at a booth in Van Pelt—but I do remember it was followed by a chronic need to fill the gaps. You can’t feel out of place on Locust Walk if you find a makeshift place in someone else’s passenger seat, after all, and there’s no need to complain about a lack of Friday night plans if you spend every weekend cosplaying a Stepford fantasy. Avoidance powers my love language (quality time), and I should probably schedule an extra appointment with my therapist.

34TH STREET STAFF Features Staff Writers: Sejal Sangani, Angela Shen, Mira Sydow, Amy Xiang, Meg Gladieux, Emilee Gu, Tara Anand, Avalon Hinchman Focus Beat Writers: Rema Bhat, Jean Paik, Gabrielle Galchen, Naima Small, Leandra Archibald Style Beat Writers: Kira Wang, W. Anthony Perez, Anna Hochman, Rachel Ker, Joanna Shan Music Beat Writers: Evan Qiang, Fernanda Brizuela, Derek Wong, Grayson Catlett, Treasure Brown Arts Beat Writers: Jessa Glassman, Roger Ge, Irma Kiss Barath Film & TV Beat Writers: Harshita Gupta, Jacob A. Pollack, Sneha Parthasarathy, Heather Shieh, Cindy Zhang Ego Beat Writers: Anjali Kishore, Alana Bess, Saya Desai, Sheil Desai Staff Writers: Kathryn Xu, Emily Moon, John Nycz, Kate Ratner, Kayla Cotter, Mame Balde, Shelby Abayie, Vidur Saigal Multimedia Associates: Dhivya Arasappan, Sage Levine, Sophie Huang, Samantha Turner, Sudeep

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I’ve always been jealous of two types of people: the ones who are able to admit they belong by themselves, and the ones who persist enough to find where they belong. I think I’m closer to becoming the former, but the latter is who this issue is about. They’re the ones who forge new spaces, traverse the awkward, and make it a little bit easier for the rest of us to feel included. This issue centers on people who are redefining what it means to belong. We have explainers on the Black creatives carving a place in pop–punk high–brow entertainment and a feature on students building community in a little–known study abroad program. Mostly, we’re celebrating those whose comfort zones sit right at the nexus of fitting in and standing out.

SSSF,

Bea

Bhargava, Sukhmani Kaur, Roger Ge, Andrew Yang, Mason Dao, Sheil Desai, Derek Wong, Evie Eisenstein, Andrea Barajas, Rachel Zhang, Sofika Janak, Sneha Parthasarathy Audience Engagement Associates: Sneha Parthasarathy, Adrien Wilson–Thompson, Kayla Cotter, Vidur Saigal, Heather Shieh, Caleb Crain, Saya Desai MULTIMEDIA Multimedia Associates: Dhivya Arasappan, Sage Levine, Sophie Dai, Sophie Huang, Samantha Turner, Sudeep Bhargava, Liwa Sun, Sukhmani Kaur, Alexandra Morgan–Lindo Audience Engagement Associates: Yamila Frej, Saya Desai, Sneha Parthasarathy, Adrien WilsonThompson, Kayla Cotter, Vidur Saigal, Heather Shieh, Caleb Crain Copy Editor: Brittany Darrow Design Editor: Isabel Liang Cover Design by Cindy Xu

Contacting 34th Street Magazine: If you have questions, comments, complaints or letters to the editor, email Bea Forman, Editor-In-Chief, at forman@34stcom. You can also call us at (215) 422–4640. www.34st.com ©2021 34th Street Magazine, The Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. No part may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express, written consent of the editors (but I bet we will give you the a–okay.) All rights reserved. 34th Street Magazine is published by The Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc., 4015 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Pa., 19104, every Tuesday.

spoopy


WORD ON THE STREET

r e l d n t u a n r e e S v s of an Adam Ad

il i a n by L n o i t a r Illust

Adam Sandler was filming in Philly; as a lifelong fan, I was determined to meet him. | SHELBY ABAYIE

I

’ve been fond of Adam Sandler ever since I was a kid. It started with his 2008 film, Bedtime Stories, a feel–good movie featuring a hotel repairman who tells his niece and nephew bedtime stories that spontaneously come true. His works aren’t masterpieces, and his sense of humor can be grating at times, but his genuine nature makes me root for him and his characters. So, when whispers spread that Sandler was shooting a Netflix sports drama called Hustle at the Palestra, I was determined to meet him. After hearing that a friend was booked as an extra, I figured I’d give it a shot. The application took 20 minutes, and a few hours later, I’d booked my first extra job as a pedestrian. After a COVID–19 test in a parking lot near the Wissahickon and a negative result, I was ready to go. Call time was Monday at 6 a.m. I was up before sunrise, bopping to Big Time Rush as I made my way there in the predawn darkness. As I walked, I worried that this wouldn’t be as glamorous as I’d initially thought—who knew if I would even talk to Sandler, let alone see him? However, positivity reigned. The wardrobe location was a grimy, abandoned store in the Italian Market. Everything seemed run down and dingy—certainly not the

Hollywood glamour I’d expected. I made my way up rickety, uneven stairs and changed into a navy polyester sweater and simple blue jeans in a bathroom laden with rat traps. I was with a group of 15 extras, who were mostly young people with extra time and an urge to make a movie cameo. After waiting 30 minutes, a production assistant (PA) announced horrible news: Sandler was on the main unit and we were on the second unit, so we wouldn’t meet him. The PA tried to cheer us up by suggesting that the longer we worked, the greater the likelihood that we’d meet Sandler. According to the PA, acting was a “no pain no game” business after all. I was devastated, but I couldn’t back out without losing payment and possibly being blacklisted by the Hollywood powers that be, so I stuck it out. After waiting for an hour, I was chosen for a bar scene. The crew jokingly said it was because I seemed like a "lush," which is apparently slang for a heavy drinker. My task was to mime as a college student studying at a bar with a friend. I was paired with a girl named Brooke. We became fast friends as we pretended to fawn over videos of the movie’s rising basketball star. We were staring at a blue screen that would be edited in post, so the two of us invented the character pro-

ra t Ex

file for the star. Our jesting laughs turned into real giggles as we started fantasizing about Philadelphia 76ers rookie Matisse Thybulle. The next day, I received a text from the casting company asking if I wanted to be an extra for a scene involving an indie film crew. I said yes. I was determined to meet Sandler no matter what. The second location was alarmingly different. We extras floated around a clean community center for seniors, and we had actual changing rooms. The PA told us that we were going to hop in a van to get to the main unit at Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, and that no pictures were allowed. I was buzzing with excitement at the prospect of meeting Sandler and redeeming the multiple days of early wakeups. As I prepared to start my scene as a hairstylist on the fake indie crew, the extras gossiped about our closeness to the director Jeremiah Zagar and his Philly–famous parents, Julia and Isaiah Zagar. I learned that Isaiah created Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, an indoor–outdoor gallery labyrinth made of mosaics. While waiting, we learned that a main cast member was going to be in the scene with us—Jordan Hull. She looked like the rest of us, but with more makeup and a stronger rapport with the director. Hull’s part wasn’t made known to extras, but we suspected she played the daughter of Sandler

Liu

and Queen Latifah’s characters. The last scene I was featured in was in a graveyard. It was chilly outside, and I wasn’t allowed to change. Still, I snuck in snacks and a jacket. I don’t think wardrobe was too offended by my flagrant disregard of the rules. I was minding my business, shivering and attempting to hide the snack logos from cameras, when a car rolled up beside the graveyard. Suddenly, Sandler poked his head out of the window and waved. But my opportunity to meet him disappeared as quickly, as it arrived as he drove off. He was in work mode and had to do scene prep. I took a disappointingly grainy picture of him with my phone. Word spread that he would be shooting until at least 3 a.m. At that moment, I had to make a choice. I’d already spent hours of my time attempting to meet Sandler. I had homework to do and Friday night plans—dinner and painting with friends and possibly frat hopping. I was tired, cold, and wanted to leave. When the PAs asked who wanted to stay, I didn’t raise my hand. I didn’t achieve my goal, but I did make new friends and sort of meet some celebrities. I don’t know if I’ll ever be in a Sandler movie again, or even be a movie extra again. But if anyone's looking for adventure, I recommend finding it on a movie set.

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EGO

BRYN FAULKNER HOMETOWN: Chillicothe, Mo. MAJOR:

Nursing with minor in American Sign Language (ASL) and deaf studies

ACTIVITES:

New Spirit of Penn (NSP) Gospel Choir, Zeta Tau Alpha, Penn Singers

Gospel choir singer and musical theater lover by day. Nurse by night. | SHEIL DESAI

34th STREET: Can you tell us about why you chose to pursue nursing? BRYN FAULKNER: I've always known that I wanted to do [health care] in some shape or form. For the longest time, I thought I was going to be a doctor. And then junior year of high school, I sat down with my mom, and she was like, “There's nothing wrong with being a doctor. But you know that you are a person who likes to connect with people, creating that kind of homey environment for people. You're not going to get that as a doctor—you're going to get that as a nurse.” So that's why I initially went into it. I like people, and I like helping them. It's who I am, and I feel like nursing has more interpersonal relationships. STREET: How did you become interested in American Sign Language? BF: In high school, we only

4

had one option if you wanted to take a foreign language: Spanish. And so I didn't take that class because it was the only option. When I came to Penn, I had to fulfill a language requirement, and I was like, "ASL sounds fun." Going into nursing, I know that a lot of people know how to speak Spanish in hospitals, but I feel like a lot [fewer] people know how to speak ASL to deaf patients. So I said, "Why not? I'll do the four semesters." And I ended up loving it. STREET: Are you fluent? BF: Not even close. I can definitely have a conversation with deaf people, but I'm nowhere near fluent. STREET: Could you talk about your involvement in NSP Gospel Choir and theater? BF: So I first joined NSP my [first–year] fall. Before that, I had done PennCAP, and my mentor was part of NSP. She sat me down and was like, “Not that

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I stalked you on Facebook, but it seemed like you were Christian.” She told me that’s all that is required if I was interested. So I was like, "Why not?" Not thinking much of it, I decided to join, and here I am, four years later. I'm president and director. And for musical theater, I started my [first–year] spring. I've always done theater in high school. That's something I'd grown up doing, and it was just really fun to me. I like the building side of it—using saws and everything. And I also really like the performing side. I love being in this position to see two totally different groups on campus, and it's just a lot of fun getting to see people use their creative sides. STREET: Would you say there's any connection between your interest in music and theater and your work as a student nurse? BF: I feel like people who are part of performing arts tend to be inherently more open mind-

really important " It's in nursing that you

keep an open mind because it doesn't matter what your patient looks like, where they're from, their economic status—you're there to help them get better.

ed. It's really important in nursing that you keep an open mind because it doesn't matter what your patient looks like, where they're from, their economic status—you're there to help them get better. Having a performing arts background has definitely solidified that aspect of my job as a future nurse. STREET: What experiences


EGO

a student " As nurse and future

nurse, I have that opportunity to better understand a patient's story before they come to the hospital.

at Penn have most shaped your time here? BF: My sophomore year, I was on an oncology floor. I was with a patient, and she'd been there for a while. I was able to sit down and talk to her for a little bit. The patient had been losing her hearing and voice because of the type of cancer that she had. She told me, “I tried to learn ASL, but I'm an old Black woman. When I tried to learn

years ago, they wouldn't let me into the schools. They wouldn't let me learn this language that I knew that I would need.” She said that now she’s learning ASL, but she still doesn’t know much. It really just hit me: Our patients have their entire lives before coming to the hospital that we don't see. We only see them when they're at the most vulnerable point in their lives. It made me realize how important having these conversations is because I wonder if any of her doctors knew these things. STREET: How do you get patients to open up and connect on a deeper level? BF: I personally like to start by having conversations. That's pretty basic, like, “Where are you from?” or, “What's your name?” Then I try to pick up clues, like if they have children. For that patient from earlier, she had asked what I was doing in school

other than nursing, so I brought up my ASL minor. She told me how she had been trying to learn ASL, and so that's how the con-

just hit me: " ItOurreally patients have

their entire lives before coming to the hospital that we don't see. We only see them when they're at the most vulnerable point in their lives.

versation got started. I feel like the most important thing is just being available to have those conversations. People in hospitals can be really lonely,

and those conversations can really change their demeanor. As a student nurse and future nurse, I have that opportunity to better understand a patient's story before they come to the hospital. STREET: What are your plans after Penn? BF: There's about a million and one different options right now. Directly after I graduate, I want to work on a pediatric oncology floor somewhere. At some point, I would like to go back to get my Ph.D. in nursing so I can work as a clinical nurse specialist. Basically, CNS's are liaisons between research and hospitals, so they make sure that hospitals are using evidence–based practices and integrating new technology.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

LIGHTNING ROUND STREET: What's your favorite song to listen to? BF: I've been listening to a lot from the Hadestown musical. It's wonderful. I’m a big fan. STREET: What's your favorite song to sing? BF: "Breathe" from In the Heights. STREET: What are you dressing up as for Halloween? BF: I’m going to be Blossom from the Power Puff Girls. It’s kind of a group costume I’m doing with my friends. STREET: There are two types of people at Penn … BF: Those who eat on campus, and those who will SEPTA an hour and a half for Georgian Bread. STREET: And you are? BF: Definitely the type to get Georgian Bread.

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EGO

MEET MIKEL SARALEGUI,

the First Year Who Made His Own Album Mikel sings about everything, from places he hasn't visited to relationships. | SAYA DESAI

M

aybe you’ve seen Mikel Saralegui (C '25) walking around campus with his signature curls, but did you know that his hairstyle is also the title of his album? Mikel started singing in nursery school in New York City. In fifth grade, when many of his peers joined school choir, he decided to tag along. He didn’t think much of it and saw it as more of a social opportunity. Following in the footsteps of his

Photo courtesy of Mikel Saralegui ect of his choice at the end of his senior year. "I wanted to do an album just because I played the guitar and had been dabbling in producing a bit, so I figured there's no better time than now to devote a good amount of time to this," he says. "It kind of just happened that I decided to take on the identity of a songwriter for a bit." When creating songs for the project, Mikel started by making a beat using his guitar and piano and then

Photo courtesy of Mikel Saralegui older brother—who also joined choir in fifth grade and continued through middle and high school—Mikel thought it was natural to keep going. After retiring from choir in tenth grade, Mikel switched to a capella. Songwriting was never part of Mikel’s life until he had to do a proj6

wrote lyrics. He drew inspiration from his life and his personal relationships, whether it was girl problems or situations his friends were facing. "There's a bit of embellishment when you want to make something work," he says. "I think one of the

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songs says something along the lines of, ‘What's the weather like in Minnesota out in the middle of May?’ I've never been to Minnesota. I don't know anyone from Minnesota. I wrote about it just because it sounded nice, but that's what makes it fun." Mikel drew inspiration for the album name Curls from a self–proclaimed “corny analogy” that he came up with: "My curls just represent the twists and turns of life in all the different directions it can go." For the album cover art, Mikel asked his mom to take a photo of the top of his head, capturing both his forehead and curls. "It took her a bunch of photos to get it right," he laughs. But after landing on the perfect frame, Mikel went into photoshop, wrote "Curls" in his handwriting in the white space above his head, and put a grain filter on the photo "to make it more indie." The finished product, which features six original tracks, is now available on Spotify. If Mikel had to describe himself as a genre of music, it would be R&B because he thinks it's a great way to express emotions and encompasses a wide variety of sounds and styles. He says his artist inspiration would have to be Steve Lacey. "I listened to his EP so much. He's the one that taught me that you do not need much to start because you can make the most out of the bare minimum," Mikel says. His guitar teacher Tony Catalonia is another one of the most vital inspirations in his music career. At Penn, Mikel is considering studying environmental studies with a minor in economics or computer science. Though it’s been hard for him to strike

a balance between working on his music and studying, he's been consistently playing the guitar since coming to campus. "My hallmates come and knock and say keep it up," he laughs. Last month, he had the opportunity to perform at Smokey Joe's, where his friends came to support him and his original music. At the moment, Mikel isn't sure if

curls just " My represent the

twists and turns of life in all the different directions it can go.

there's a potential overlap between his passion for music and his academic studies. He wants to take music theory but reflects, "I'm just not at the point where I know that music is something I want to fully do yet, so I don't want it to take away from [other] class options here." In the next four years, Mikel is looking forward to finding a true passion. As someone who's interested in many different fields, he wants to hone in on at least one, whether it be business, computer science, music, or the environment. "I want to be dedicated to a cause," he says, "and that is something I am both nervous and excited to figure out."


MUSIC

Illustration by Isabel Liang

Illuminati Hotties Brings the Pop–Punk Revival Back to the Fringes Let Me Do One More is the crown jewel of a year that produced plenty of rippers and very few skippers. | WALDEN GREEN

S

arah Tudzin knows how to milk a moment. You hear it in “MMMOOOAAAAAYAYA,” the onomatopoeic pop–punk rager that she put out under her Illuminati Hotties moniker this past April. At the song’s climax, she lets forth a gasp, a villainous cackle, and then squeals into the microphone: “If you’re not laughing, baby / then you’re not making money!” The title of her new album, Let Me Do One More, makes things abundantly clear: She has the stage, and she has no intention of getting off until somebody kicks her off. And Tudzin couldn’t have chosen a better moment to release these deranged and tender songs into the wild. However, that wasn’t always the plan. The songs that make up her new album were originally supposed to come out two years ago under Illuminati Hotties’ former label Tiny Engines. That is, until several of the label’s bands came forward with accusations of financial mismanagement. Rather than letting her greatest work go down with the ship, Tudzin decided to build herself a lifeboat. That lifeboat was Free I.H: This Is Not the One You’ve Been Waiting For, a 23–minute mixtape that fulfilled her contractual obligation. In the next few weeks, anyone who follows music news will read plenty of headlines describing this new record

as “the one we have been waiting for.” But that does a disservice to the gonzo, MacGyvered charms of Free I.H. This is an album where the first lyrics on the opening track are “Let’s smash / to a podcast / tomorrow mornin’ we’re cryin’ into a Dennys’ grand slam.” Tudzin’s raunchy, absurdist sense of humor was always present in her work, but Free I.H. put it front and center. Following through on that promise, Let Me Do One More is a really funny album. “Joni: LA’s No. 1 Health Goth,” is a “Judy Is a Punk” homage dedicated to the coolest girl in Los Angeles county. But the lyrics do the title one better: “Joni’s in the first band / Joni has a cool hand / Joni knows the problem is systematic.” Meanwhile, “u v v p,” which draws inspiration from the Shangri–Las, features a gloriously corny spoken word outro courtesy of Big Thief ’s Buck Meek. Crooning in a deep–fried southern drawl, she hilariously relegates this man, responsible for some of the best guitar playing of the past five years, to “having too much tumbleweed in [his] blood.” A fascination with Wall of Sound production is obvious in Tudzin’s flawless work, who self–produced all of Let Me Do One More. This is not surprising; her engineering CV includes Amen Dunes’ Freedom, Weyes Blood’s Titanic Rising, and even the soundtrack

to Hamilton. Illuminati Hotties was originally conceived as a way to advertise for new clients, but Let Me Do One More is on another level entirely; the album is practically the musical equivalent of high definition. On “Pool Hopping,” which was the song of the summer for anyone who was paying attention, each instrument is mixed with perfect clarity and just the right amount of fuzz. This is a great record, but it’s also a killer resume; there’s no good reason at this point that Tudzin shouldn’t be producing the next Olivia Rodrigo album. Speaking of Olivia Rodrigo, this is the album for anyone who wished every song on SOUR sounded more like “good 4 u” and “Brutal.” Or anyone who still can’t get enough of Travis Barker, even after his collaborations with WILLOW and Machine Gun Kelly. It’s impressive knowing that so many of these songs were written and recorded over a year and a half ago when they line up so synchronously with our current pop–punk revival. Of course, this trend didn’t emerge out of nowhere; bands like Charly Bliss have captured audience attention, and critics have been busy reevaluating Paramore since they released After Laughter in 2017. Earlier this year, Rodrigo was accused of stealing the aesthetic of Brooklyn indie band Pom Pom Squad (call it the

Prom Queen–Cheerleader Dichotomy). Those visual similarities could be synchronicity at best or shrewd bandwagoning at worst, but there’s an impulse to root for the DIY tenacity of bandleader Mia Berrin versus a Disney star with presumably an entire team managing her brand image. Pom Pom Squad also make pop–punk, but they have different influences—mainly '90s riot grrrl and '60s girl groups. With these as touchstones, it’s no surprise to learn that Sarah Tudzin had a hand as co–producer in this year’s Death of a Cheerleader. Obviously, Tudzin cares more about elevating the musicians around her than dragging down the ones at the top of the charts. Let Me Do One More was the first release on her newly founded imprint, Snack Shack Tracks, whose manifesto is pulled from the lyrics of “Pool Hopping:” “All Riprs No Skiprs Since 2021.” These tracks are, as advertised, all rippers and no skippers, but they also have the quality that so many of their contemporaries lack. “good 4 u” and “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l” are damn good songs, but they aren’t subverting the status quo. They're punk in genre, sure, but Illuminati Hotties songs also have a punk ethos. They’re funny, raunchy, and ballsy in their release and the scathing truths they dispense—a real deal triumph in the music industry.

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Illustration by Amy Krimm

Pop–Punk’s Diverse Revival Is More Performative Than Progresasive

Pop–punk isn't just for the white kids anymore— but how diverse are its stars? | SHELBY ABAYIE

T

he sound of pop–punk is unmistakable—fast tempo, infectious melody, a wall of sound composed of roaring electric guitars and thumping drums, and very angry youth. Pop–punk was a staple of the '90s and 2000s that fizzled out as other genres like rap gained popularity. But guess what— it’s now back and better than ever. This time, it’s diverse and features artists of color like Willow Smith (also known simply as WILLOW). Unfortunately, the diversity of the revival is more performative than it is progressive. Those that grew up in the 90s and 2000s are deeply acquainted with bands such as Blink–182, Dag Nasty, Green Day, Descendants, Paramore, and more. They were the anthem of a generation of youth that refused to sit down and take the political and social injustice of the world around them. They had something to say and would say it regardless of what ‘the man’ wanted. However, in the '90s and 2000s, pop– punk wasn’t the only music genre gaining steam. Hip–hop was becoming increasingly popular and this led to a stark demographic split. Pop–punk was overwhelmingly white, and hip–hop became the genre for people of color. But music is meant to be shared and 8

spread regardless of color. White teens became enthralled with hip–hop and teens of color expanded their musical tastes into pop–punk. Today, there are several white rappers such as Eminem that have irrevocably influenced rap and earned their place as genre legends. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for pop–punk and artists of color. Pop–punk is still overpoweringly white, despite the new diverse slant championed by the revival. When the diversity of the Pop–punk revival is discussed, WILLOW’s album lately I feel EVERYTHING is presented as proof of a newfound progressiveness in the genre. WILLOW is an artist so entrenched in Gen Z culture that her success was almost inevitable. This isn’t to reduce Willow’s efforts and talent. As a Black woman, breaking into a majority white genre is never easy. Her voice is striking and her lyrics are potent and emotional, but she’s been famous since before she was born. Her notable family consisting of Will, Jaden, and Jada Pinkett Smith are lovable Black Hollywood royalty. At nine years old, WILLOW began her music career with the Platinum hit “Whip My Hair” and has been beloved by Gen Z ever since. If that wasn't enough for a successful album or at least increased attention to the album, she collaborated with a bonafide pop-punk legend: Travis Barker, the drummer of Blink–182. Her album blew up and now has hundreds of millions of Spotify streams.

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But what about the other youth of color embracing pop–punk? They aren’t finding it quite as easy as WILLOW to gain traction. While WILLOW’s pop– punk arrival was a perfect storm, those without her connections aren’t as lucky. POC pop–punk bands such as Meet Me @ The Altar and Action/Adventure still aren’t as popular in mainstream pop– punk, presumably because they don’t fit its white mold. Aside from WILLOW, the revival has been mostly white artists such as Machine Gun Kelly and YungBlud. Meet Me @ The Altar has been lauded by pop–punk greats including Green Day for their most popular song “Garden.” It’s an uplifting Paramore–inspired banger about an unbreakable friendship. Yet, they fail to receive mainstream attention. While their single “Garden” has 1.7 million Spotify streams and almost 400,000 YouTube views, despite this initial success, it still pales in comparison to their white counterparts. Action/Adventure faces similar issues. They posted a video singing lyrics from their most popular song “Barricades” on TikTok. In the video, their frontman Blake Evaristo is raw and vulnerable as he questions listeners “Would you listen if we looked any different?” With 1.3 million views, Action/Adventure has clearly struck a nerve with listeners. The comment section is flooded with support from listeners eager for good music and more diversity in the genre. On Spotify, “Barri-

cades” has just over 400,000 streams. The disconnect is clear on YouTube though, where the official “Barricades” music video has 50,000 views. To put these numbers in perspective, one of Machine Gun Kelly’s most popular songs, “my ex’s best friend,” featuring Blackbear, has almost 400 million Spotify streams regardless of the fact that he only just transitioned into pop–punk after starting his career as a rapper. It’s clear that the pop–punk revival isn’t as diverse as it seems. But a slow start doesn’t mean real progress can’t be made. POC pop–punk bands aren’t demeaning other successful white pop– punk artists. They enjoy the genre of pop–punk as deeply and enthusiastically as anyone else. They simply want a chance to be heard without prejudice maligning judgments of their talents. And to their credit, they’re good—really good. Pop–punk fans will surely be impressed by the infectious melodies, powerhouse vocals, and heartfelt lyrics of Meet Me @ the Altar, Action/Adventure, and other artists of color making waves on the pop–punk scene. But it’s hard to be impressed by a band that you don’t even know exists. Perhaps pop–punk fans need to actively seek out bands that are more anti–establishment towards the genre. WILLOW shouldn’t have to be the only POC pop–punk artist, there’s a slew of talented artists waiting to join her at the top.


MUSIC

OVERHEARDS

This week: Brandy Melville, soaking, and monotheism

Just Transferred from BYU: "If I engage in soaking, am I still a virgin?"

A Polygamist Polytheist: "It's like a monotheistic relationship because they only date each other, right?"

Thinks They're Victoria Paris: "They should replace Pottruck with a Brandy Melville." Learned How to Read a Calendar Yesterday: "The only thing standing between me and the weekend is the rest of today and tomorrow."

A Walking Red Flag: "If I cobble together all the men I'm talking to, I have one full boyfriend."

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FILM & TV

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THE ‘GOOD FOR HER’ CINEMATIC UNIVERSE:

Which 'It Girl' Will You Dress as this Halloween? What your girlboss costume of choice says about the landscape of the female narrative in film & tv | HEATHER SHIEH

Illustration by Amy Krimm

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ontrary to popular belief, Halloween is not just an excuse for women to dress up as hot female characters. Upon closer inspection, only a select few make the cut: the timeless contenders that make the top of the list every year include Regina George from Mean Girls, Cher Horowitz from Clueless, Jennifer Check from Jennifer's Body, and any variation of Harley Quinn. Categorically, they are either the hyper–feminine mean girl or the unhinged psychopath. It may be worth asking: Why do we gravitate towards these female characters? The mean girl manifests herself as the cheerleader, the clique ringleader, the vapid barbie reincarnated. She's created for the sole purpose of being villainized. We see this archetype in Mean Girls as Regina George, in High School Musical as Sharpay, and in Heathers as Heather, just to name a few. At its peak, the denigration of hyper–femininity proliferated within pop culture and hyper–femininity soon became conflated with villainess. In Mean Girls, Regina’s beauty and confidence is wielded as a weapon to maintain her social status in high school and to reign over others. She’s portrayed as manipulative, shallow, cunning, and malicious. Flash forward to today, the very girl that we villainized seems to have climbed up the ranks—she’s the it–girl now. The faces of this phenomenon are Maddy Perez from Euphoria and Ruby Matthews from Sex Education—both of whom are reminiscent of the iconic female leads Cher Horowitz and Elle Woods. Indeed, Legally Blonde and Clueless were decades ahead of their time in the way that they represented these traditionally superficial stock characters as multifaceted, accomplished, and intelligent women. Their narratives teach us that women don't have to sacrifice their femininity in order to succeed. In Legally Blonde, Elle is ostracized by other students at Harvard simply because of the way she presents herself: To them, wearing pink and shopping are perceived as weaknesses. A shift in the female narrative can be seen in the critical reevaluation of Jennifer’s Body. In a post #MeToo world, Jennifer’s Body is no longer the sex fantasy film for straight boys, as it was initially marketed, but rather a feminist cult classic. After a traumatic night alone with a boy

band, Jennifer Check becomes possessed, wreaking bloody vengeance on boys. In this way, Jennifer’s Body offers a cathartic fantasy in response to trauma not dissimilar to sexual assault. In the same vein, Promising Young Woman offers a revenge fantasy that follows Cassie Thomas, the protagonist, as she seeks to avenge the death of her best friend who committed suicide shortly after a classmate raped her in college. These are the women we turn to when we say, “Good for her.” The phrase "Good for her" originates from a viral Arrested Development screencap in which the infamous icon Lucille Bluth watches a news report about a mother who lets her car roll into a lake with her kids trapped inside. The cultural impact of this scene and the wider subgenre reflects the feeling of satisfaction women feel when a female character realizes their desires—however wholesome or detrimental that may be. But not all bloody revenge slasher films with angry women are feminist films by default. What happens if the woman is truly the villain? Why are we still drawn to these female characters? Amy Dunne from Gone Girl is undeniably a psychopath who elaborately plots to punish the men that have wronged her. Amy, instead of being constrained by her gender expectations, exploits common tropes of femininity in order to gain agency over men and the patriarchal institutions that oppress her. She plays into the damsel, the mother–to– be, the “cool girl,” as she embodies and simultaneously subverts these feminine ideals. Amy reasons: “Nick Dunne took my pride and my dignity and my hope and my money. He took and took from me until I no longer existed. That’s murder.” To avenge her loss, she decides to frame her husband for murder. So, can we really say, “Good for her”? Consider this: Perhaps, the cathartic reaction to watching a female villain getting what they want doesn't diminish the moral severity of her actions but instead speaks to what it feels like to relinquish women from the expectations that behold them. Whichever girlboss you choose to dress as—a hot girl, an unhinged maniac—just know that it’s a reasonable choice. Because the most terrifying thing a woman can do this Halloween is to subvert the expectations society has made for her.


Illustration by Alice Heyeh

FILM & TV

The Importance Behind Michaela Coel's Historic Emmy Win Michaela Coel made Emmy history against all odds. How did she get there? | MAME BALDE

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ward–winning writer, actress, director, producer, and singer Michaela Coel is nothing short of talented. The Ghanian–British star made history as the first Black woman to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards. Coel’s win served as a huge exception for the Emmys—despite having a record number of 49 underrepresented artists, all major acting awards were given to white actors. This caused #Emmyssowhite to trend on social media. Despite being celebrated throughout the night with a moving speech that went viral, Michaela’s journey to the Emmys wasn’t always smooth sailing. Like many Black artists before her, Coel’s work was constantly undervalued and ignored. In the past, Coel has faced trouble owning the rights to her own work, some of which incorporate her personal experiences and trauma. A clear example is the series she won her Emmy for, I May Destroy You. The show tells the story of Arabella (played by Coel), a writer dealing with the aftermath of being drugged and sexually assaulted by strangers.

The story was loosely based off of her own experience with sexual assault, and Coel was set on owning the rights to this deeply personal story. She recounts the difficulty of shopping the series around to networks in an interview with Vulture, saying, “I remember thinking, ‘I’ve been going down rabbit holes in my head, like people thinking I’m paranoid, I’m acting sketchy, I’m killing off all my agents.’ and I finally realized—I’m not crazy. This is crazy.” Coel ended up turning down a $1 million Netflix deal when they refused to allow her to own any of the show's copyright—a tale seen far too often with Black creatives in the entertainment industry. Furthermore, Coel fired her agency for pushing her towards the lucrative Netflix deal even when she was told she wouldn’t be able to own the rights to her story. Coel made the scary decision, and some may even say a crazy decision: she said no. The move was risky. Coel, who was still relatively unknown at the time, had a strong relationship with Netflix because the streaming giant introduced her breakthrough project, Chewing Gum, to the United States, and she appeared in an Emmy– winning episode of Netflix’s Black Mirror. Despite being incredibly popular with fans and view-

ers all over the world, I May Destroy You was snubbed for a nomination by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association during the 2020 Golden Globes awards. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association received plenty of criticism during the 2020 Golden Globes Ceremony for their lack of Black members and for not acknowledging many artists of color.

During her Emmy speech, Michaela included her formula to success by daring writers to “write the tale that scares you, that makes you feel uncertain, that isn’t comfortable.” By including experiences from her own encounter with sexual assault and rape, I May Destroy You proved to be an eye– opening and deeply rewarding show that not only touched survivors of sexual assault but

also everyone who watched it. Michaela Coel’s Emmy win was a long overdue recognition of her hard work and talent. Her story reminds us to know our worth even when others may doubt it. The main takeaway comes straight from Coel herself: “Do not be afraid to disappear from it, from us, for a while and see what comes to you in the silence.”

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A Chance That Doesn’t Come Twice Meet three International Guest students at Penn, who are participating in a program that offers much more than a taste of an American education. | TARA ANAND

Photo courtesy of Zihan Xia

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ihan Xia knew the words to every song in The Little Mermaid before she understood a word of English. Though her DVD copy had no Mandarin subtitles, she had the entire animated film memorized by the third grade. Today, she admits that she identifies more with American culture than Chinese, shifting her infatuation with The Little Mermaid to sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory and Friends. So, when Zihan arrived in the United States for the first time in 2021 as an International Guest Student at Penn (IGSP), she introduced herself as Drea, inspired by one of her favorite American rappers, Dr. Dre. She hoped this Westernized name would help her fit in and avoid the stress of correcting people’s pronunciations of her Chinese name. When asked what shocked her most about her new surroundings, she eagerly explains how her definition of "foreigner" has evolved. “Most of the time in China, there’s only Chinese. If you saw a white guy on the street, you would identify them as [a foreigner],” she explains. She’s pleasantly surprised at how accepting people are of different nationalities on campus and how diverse Penn’s population appears. “There’s no idea of a foreigner when everybody’s a foreigner,” she says. Zihan is a member of the IGSP cohort of 2021. Regularly confused with the Exchange Student Program, IGSP is a distinct community that brings students like Zihan to Penn each year. The Exchange Program admits students while simultaneously sending Penn students to partner universities. Instead, the IGSP is a one– way street, which includes written partnerships with universities, organizations, and governments to welcome students to Penn. And unlike in the Exchange Program, IGSP students pay Penn’s tuition. Facilitated by the School of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS), the program offers a chance for international students

to study at Penn for one or two semesters, giving them the opportunity to choose courses across Penn’s various schools to meet their requirements back home. Students can live in on–campus housing and gain access to all campus facilities. IGSP began 15 years ago with 15 students. Now, in 2021, the program has grown to admit 160 students from 44 universities across 15 countries. While IGSP students come to Penn for a variety of reasons, a common thread linking their goals is a desire to share their cultures and absorb those of others. At the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, Zihan studies financial engineering, but during her semester at Penn, she’s able to take courses like "Introduction to Queer Art" that weren’t available back in China. Zihan says that because her university is a tech school, there are very few art courses, and the ones that are offered are treated as electives. “The course at Penn is about queer art, which is a brand new perspective for me and a topic I’m super interested in,” she says. Photo courtesy of Daffa Pratama

“There’s no idea of a foreigner when everybody’s a foreigner.” ZIHAN XIA Being admitted to the IGSP was an unbelievable opportunity for Zihan to explore a culture she naturally gravitated towards—and instead of shying away from the culture shock, she embraces it. This open–hearted enthusiasm for stepping out of their comfort zone is a shared sentiment among the IGSP community. It’s certainly felt by fellow IGSP student Daffa Pratama. He’s one of 1,000 students selected by the Indonesian government to participate in the Indonesia International Student Mobility Awards, an initiative by the new Minister of Education and Culture, Nadiem Makarim. Having selected the IGSP from 60 study abroad options, Daffa and 38 other Indonesian students arrived on campus this year as the first ever batch of the government–run scholarship.

“I didn’t even know I was enrolled in the IGSP until the government connected us with Penn to begin registration,” Daffa says. When asked about his most interesting experience at Penn so far, he doesn’t mention Locust Walk on a sunny afternoon or the thronging masses at frat parties. What’s absurd to Daffa is something ordinary for most American students. “The idea that a professor would set aside time where you could come to their office and ask about anything is so, so exciting to me,” he says, shaking his head in disbelief. During the online hell that defined many of our college experiences during the pandemic, Daffa found himself longing most for the minute interactions that occur before and after lectures in a classroom. His home university, the University of Indonesia, never offered office hours, and when Penn did, he jumped at the opportunity to attend. When his personal conversation with a Wharton professor was included in the following week’s lecture, he was elated. Studying at Penn was an unprecedented possibility to Daffa, and without the government’s efforts, it's unlikely he could have accessed it during his undergraduate studies. “This chance does not come twice,” he tells me. While Zihan registered for IGSP directly through her home university and Daffa joined with the help of Indonesia’s Minister of Education, Hala Al Habob is at Penn through a program run by the American government itself. A Yemeni citizen, Hala grew up in Sana’a as the youngest of eight siblings. “[My family has] always seen me as the smart girl, saying it was unfair for me to have to study in Yemen,” Hala says. She speaks about how a diploma from a Yemeni university isn’t

recognized worldwide, and instability in the region has put institutions of higher education in jeopardy. With her family’s support, she applied to the U.S.–Middle East Partnership Initiative's (MEPI) Tomorrow’s Leaders Program, an initiative run by the U.S. State Department that helps Middle– Eastern and North African students study at U.S.–accredited universities. Through MEPI, Hala was admitted to the American University of Beirut, where she has lived for the past four years. The IGSP came as a natural next step for her, as the Tomorrow’s Leaders Program includes a study abroad experience. “When I left, my family told me they knew I would make it and I should do what I loved,” she says. Upon arriving at Penn, Hala felt as if she had jumped across space and into another universe. On her first day in her Harnwell apartment, she struggled to switch on the lamp and adjust the shower. After the initial confusion settled, she realized her assumptions of what life would look like at Penn didn’t reflect her new reality.

2021 Penn cohort for the Indonesia International Student Mobility Awards. Photo courtesy of Daffa Pratama

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“It’s so fascinating to me how different we all are,” she says. She tells me that the first question she asks a person is what they like to eat. Lauren Fiori, associate director of Penn's international programs, is committed to ensuring this cultural exchange continues. “The goal I have for the program is that it continues to diversify. I would love to see us welcome students from countries we haven’t before,” she says. Fiori began working at the English Languages Program housed under LPS in 2011, before leaving for three years prior to her work with IGSP. “I always felt like I would find my way back to

Penn. Working with IGSP was the perfect way for me to combine my desire to work with international and degree students,” she says.

People here love each other, they see you and say how pretty you look even if they don’t know you.”

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It’s no surprise that Fiori’s love for her job has translated to students, with each IGSP student quick to mention how supportive and responsive she’s been throughout the process. Given the myriad of challenges presented by the pandemic, this was no simple feat. “When COVID–19 happened, we took a huge hit. IGSP was just a handful of students taking online courses,” Fiori says. However, this dip in participation didn’t last long, and in 2021, applications to the program shot up again. The IGSP has no shortage of opportunities, and it provides visiting students with a close look at the American

collegiate experience, whether that’s attending office hours, living in a dorm, or bustling to new and interesting classes. However, after talking with Zihan about how many nationalities are included in her group of friends, hearing Daffa describe his plans for an Indonesian Cultural Fair, and speaking with Hala about the inclusivity of being a Quaker, it became clear that what tied these three together was not the IGSP tag, but the excitement and intimacy of forming new relationships—ones that transcend cultural barriers. If Penn students are open to this exchange, maybe we can take a leaf from Zihan’s book and begin to collectively redefine

what it means to be a "foreigner." “People here love each other,” she says, continuing that “Hala’s biggest fear in coming to America was facing discrimination because of her hijab, but she’s relieved that she hasn’t had any such negative experiences so far. “I was expecting people to see me and turn away,” she says. Despite the already jarring change from Beirut to Philadelphia, Hala is constantly looking for more ways to become a global citizen. She’s joined African Rhythms, a traditional African drum and dance troupe at Penn, and passionately describes the pleasure that learning about other cultures brings her.


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HAITIAN REFUGEES: PANDEMIC VS MORALITY How the pandemic has complicated asylum seeking | GABRIELLE GALCHEN Illustration by Louis Zhang

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hen thousands of Haitian migrants are pictured trekking across the shallow waters of the Rio Grande, only one description comes to mind: chilling. But what’s more disturbing is the Biden’s administration's insistence on deporting these refugees. Historically, the situation in Haiti has been far from stable. Since its founding in 1804, Haiti has undergone an imperialist occupation, dictatorships, economic exploitation, and a series of military coups. In 2010, the situation worsened when a devastating earthquake displaced about 1.5 million Haitians. The earthquake of magnitude 7.0 was devastating, killing a 1,297 Haitians and damaging more than 12,000 homes. The recent July 7, 2021 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse has only caused further instability. This

political vacuum, combined with surging rates of gang violence and food insecurity, has prompted thousands of Haitians to migrate to the Texas– Mexico border. Many Haitians are also escaping a more recent hurricane that demolished the South, which has left many Haitians without access to safe drinking water. Despite the clear humanitarian crisis, the Biden administration has doubled the deportations of Haitian migrants at the border. Released images show patrol agents on horseback whipping migrants, and many deportees claim being chained during transit. Biden is following Title 42, a health code enforced under the Trump administration that cites the pandemic as a reason to deport refugees—this means that Haitian refugees are being deported without the opportunity to request asylum. This pattern of a racially

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biased immigration system is entrenched in American law. Over the years, many have been systematically targeted through legislation: the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the discriminatory Immigration Act of 1924, and the pro–European Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. The crackdown on undocumented immigration began with the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. Under the guise of maintaining law and order, it mainly targeted migrants from Central and South America. And especially after 9/11, Islamophobia became a normalized part of public discourse. This all culminated in Trump’s notoriously xenophobic legacy: a “Muslim ban” prohibiting entry of migrants from seven Muslim–majority countries, a repeated desire to “build a wall” to keep out Mexican “drug–dealers and r*pists,” and a drastic reduction of refugee admissions to just 15,000 annually. Trump’s explicit labelling of the pandemic as the “China virus” also contributed to the rise in anti–Asian attacks nationwide. Even today, undocumented immigrants of color face stricter punishments than their white counterparts. There is no defined statute of limitations for unlawful status; meaning that law enforcement has room to prevent Latino border crossers from adjusting to legal status while enabling non–Hispanic visa holders to get permanent residency. This is why 90% of those deported are Latino, despite making up just 57% of migrants. “I think what we’re seeing at our borders it’s just a fear of the other … What’s so important to drive home is that this is a humanitarian crisis, not a political one. Nobody chooses to be a refugee, to be persecuted, to be fearing for their lives. Nobody chooses this life,” says Hannah Erdogan (C ’23), captain of Penn for Refugee Empowerment, a Penn–based mentoring program for refugee youth.

Fernando Chang–Muy, who teaches Refugee Law and Policy at the School of Law, describes how the asylum process is notoriously difficult, understaffed, and underfunded: “There are many physical and legal barriers that make it difficult for Haitians to come in and tell their story.” First, there are physical barriers to arriving at the border, such as deserts, rivers, and transportation costs. Second, there are many barriers at the border: trip wires that detect human entry, border patrol agents, and unsustainable living conditions. Third, the asylum process is fraught with problems. Requesting asylum is a feat in itself. Refugees must fill out a 12–page English– language form proving that they fit the legal definition of a refugee, meaning that they are “persecuted or fear persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.” Most migrants don’t speak English, and must turn to nonprofit lawyers from understaffed organizations to represent them before asylum officers and immigration judges. Once this form is sent, it typically takes between six months and several years to process. While waiting for a response, asylum–seekers cannot even qualify for a work permit until their case is won or 180 days have passed without a decision by the immigration courts. During this limbo period, asylum–seekers must somehow find a job, obtain a residence, learn English, and support their families. Most concerning, asylum law does not even account for refugees who have fled their homes due to poverty, gang warfare, political turmoil, or climate change. “Our refugee law is very focused and limited … saying ‘My country is undergoing civil war,’ for example, or ‘I am escaping gangs and poverty’—that’s not the definition of a refugee,” professor Chang–Muy explains.

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So where does that leave Haitian refugees? Biden has granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitians who were already in the United States illegally, meaning Haitians can stay in the United States for 18 months before deportation. But for Haitian refugees at the border who are not granted TPS, do not have a company sponsoring them, or do not have a spouse in the United States, the room to fit the narrow legal definition of a refugee is much too difficult. In a world wrought by a pandemic, terrorism, and climate change, it is clear that expanding the legal definition of refugee is long overdue.

"It is up to us to spread cultural awareness about the refugee experience, whether this is through donations, volunteering, self–education, or social media activism." Aside from the humanitarian aspects of accepting more refugees, there are innumerable economic benefits. Immigrants work at high rates, maintain the national senior–to–working–age ratio, and fill labor needs in local economies with worker shortages. Children of immigrants also tend to obtain higher education, higher earnings, and work in higher–paying professions than their parents. As a general rule, immigrants are very hard–working and entrepreneurial, creating new companies at twice the rate of native–born Americans. Just in 2018, immigrants contributed $458.7 billion to federal taxes and had $1.2 trillion in spending power. While it’s understandable that

the Biden administration is concerned about letting in largely unvaccinated refugees, granting people asylum should not be perceived as a health issue. Haitians could quarantine, get tested, and receive two vaccination doses out of the surplus that American hospitals already retain. Granting people asylum should also not be perceived as a political issue: it is unproductive to have protectionist rhetoric and policies, especially in the midst of a global crisis. If the refugee crisis were depoliticized, it would finally be seen as the human rights issue that it is. professor Chang–Muy addresses the different perspectives: “On the one hand, some people want to protect our borders and not let native–borns get [COVID–19] … but some people say we should allow refugees to come in and tell their stories.” The Biden administration should give refugees the right to work, which would be easily accessible if the government funded asylum processes to become more rapid and efficient. The government should also relocate refugees to areas in which there are many jobs available, as well as give them literacy training, language training, and job skills development to find higher– skilled work in the future. It is up to us to spread cultural awareness about the refugee experience, whether this is through donations, volunteering, self–education, or social media activism. Hannah explains her perspective on raising awareness: “I think that journalists and news agencies are important in what’s portrayed … and I think that large influencers can be very powerful in posting about these issues.” Hannah, however, believes that individuals with private social media accounts can be more influential than one might think. She concludes that spreading awareness is the first step: “If I open just one person’s mind to a new perspective, I consider that a win.”


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Illustration by Alice Choi

STUDENT GENTRIFICATION IN PHILLY: TempleTok and 'Don't Go Past 40th' How students contribute to negative narratives around their college neighborhoods | KATE RATNER

T

he walk from the El stop on 40th and Market streets to Locust Walk is a peculiar journey. Ascending from the bustling public transportation hub, commuters can't miss the neon lights of small businesses dotting Market street, the groups of men conversing on street corners, and the publicly subsidized housing site just across the road. Just a block away appears Jose Garces’ upscale Mexican restaurant, Distrito. Suddenly, the red and blue insignia of the University of Pennsylvania appears, drawing one into the bubble that is University City. West Philadelphia isn’t the only section of Philadelphia that has been gentrified by a university. Temple University, in the North Broad section of Philadelphia, has expanded their control over the surrounding neighborhood with campus housing, student–serving businesses, rising rent prices, and overall, a higher cost of living. As a result of increasing segregation between the university and the community, many Temple students and faculty members have little connection to the community upon which their institution impedes. In 2016, journalist and author Ta–Nehisi Coates blamed the poor relationship between Temple University and North Philadelphia on the concept of "plunder:" how resources, property, and ideas are taken by force by an oppressor. Without compensating, Temple plunders the residential streets, affordable housing, small businesses, and community values of North Philadelphia. The ignorance many Temple students have regarding plunder was made wholly apparent during the rise of TikTok. Some used the app to mock the surrounding

community, deeming it as dangerous, unclean, and disorderly. In December 2019, a then first year at Temple posted a video to the app referring to Temple’s off–campus neighborhood as “the ghetto.” After a critical response to the video from North Philadelphia residents, Temple issued a response condemning the video as “upsetting, disappointing and never acceptable.” Unfortunately, this was not the last instance of Temple students’ oblivion to their Cecil B. Moore bubble. As the Class of 2025 prepared to move onto campus, the "TempleTok" insensitivity resurfaced. Searching “Temple University” in the TikTok search bar is a gamble. You may come across videos praising the school for its top–notch football program, exciting party scene, and dynamic academics. Other times, you may find the platform of students who are incapable of recognizing their privilege. One video’s captions reads “Yeah I went to college in North Philly, but I don’t think it affected me that much.” In the next clip, the student is seen walking in front of a green– screened image of North Broad Street. The text reads “*casually walks past gun shot sounds without being spooked*.” Qamar Coleman (C ‘25) grew up in the East Oak Lane section of Philly and attended Carver High School of Engineering and Science in North Philly, blocks away from Temple’s campus. “We would always hear about Temple kids complaining like ‘Oh North Philly is so bad, it's so dangerous … ’ One of the things you heard them say a lot was that Philly was super dirty,” Qamar says. However, he elaborates on how the lack of cleanliness can be attributed to Temple’s students, saying, “As a student at Carver,

I walked to school near the Temple frats. There would be mountains of trash … I don’t mean like six or seven trash bags, I mean literal mountains of trash.” Temple students’ criticism of North Philly is ironic because they cause their own concerns. The streets housing Temple frat houses wouldn’t be lined with trash without students littering on their walks home from parties. “It's almost like [Temple students] want to play the victim and want people to pity [them],” Qamar says about TempleTok insensitivity. If a student is not prepared to live in an urban environment and respectfully live in neighborhoods alongside their residents, they shouldn’t choose to attend a school like Temple University. In response, creators from North Philadelphia are stitching videos criticizing their neighborhood to share their perspective. One such creator, a Black Temple student, @medusagoawf on TikTok, responded to a video of a Temple student speculating about being jumped in North Philly, in a since deleted TikTok. “I’m so tired of white people coming into predominantly Black areas and acting like they are the ones in need of protection, when in actuality, they are the most destructive,” she said in the video. The criticisms of TempleTok are similar to those targeting the Penn community, as Penn too is guilty of gentrifying the communities of lower–income residents of color. Penn’s influence extends beyond Locust Walk in its staff and student housing, ever—expanding campus, and careless under–serving of the West Philadelphia area. Gabrielle Bioteau (E '23) grew up and attended West Catholic High School in

West Philly before attending Penn. She echoes Qamar’s sentiments, saying, “I’ve definitely heard Penn students say that nothing past 40th Street is safe. I’m from 49th Street, so it’s definitely annoying for me to hear ... When they do wander past [40th Street], they say ‘It’s actually not so bad.’ ... what did you expect?” These frustrating comments are the Penn alternative to TempleTok, perpetuating a disconnect between our school and its surrounding community. The gentrification of University City, or “Penntrification,” forces Philadelphia's already vulnerable Black population out of their homes and brings white families and students into their former neighborhoods. While the emotional toll brought upon those displaced is immeasurable, researchers have calculated that alongside a general decrease in the Black population in Philadelphia, the Black population in West Philly specifically has decreased by 29% between 2000 to 2012, a staggering demographic shift. As the neighborhood becomes more white, property values continue to increase exponentially, pushing Black residents further West, and banishing them further from Penn's campus. Penn and Temple students move to urban areas and complain when they are exposed to crime. TempleTok is an example of students in higher–education at wealthy institutions victimizing themselves of crime that has plagued Black and brown communities for years. Echoing a sentiment felt by many Philadelphians, Qamar says, “If you had such negative connotations [about Philadelphia], why choose these schools?”

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ARTS

City of Brotherly Love … and Thousands of Murals Four must–see murals around campus and just across the Market Street Bridge | JESSA GLASSMAN

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hiladelphians often opt for a museum visit to satisfy a craving for artistic stimulation. But taking a walk around the city’s streets yields a new way to revel in creative expression—one that is just as fulfilling and even more tied to our local communities. Philadelphia is called the mural capital of the world, with over 3,600 unique art–filled walls and building facades sprinkled throughout the city. Spearheaded by Mural Arts Philadelphia, these public art installations are intended to engage artists and communities through ingenuity. The organization’s mission elaborates that it “inspires change in people, place, and practice, creating the opportunity for a more just and equitable Philadelphia.” For your viewing pleasure (and convenience), here are four Philly murals that are just around the corner from Penn’s campus. Some of these may be landmarks of your daily commute, and some you may have passed without ever noticing, but all bring color, vibrancy, and 1 8 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E O C TO B E R 2 6 , 2 0 21

Photograph courtesy of Jessa Glassman imagination to the city. There are deeper meanings beyond Philly murals’ beautiful facades full of bright colors and intriguing narratives. Inspired by conversations with suicide survivors, Burns created this chaotic image to reflect the feeling of desperation and loneliness they described. He depicts a man, alone on a boat in rocky waters, with a life ring coming toward him, although it is unclear whether the man will grab or refuse it. Finding the Light Within, created in collaboration with Mural Arts, Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, seeks to create dialogue about the pervasive yet taboo issue, which disproportionately plagues communities of color in Philadelphia. It ultimately strives to “provide solace and give expression to the sadness, the void, the concerns and the aspirations of people who have been traumatized, silenced and stigmatized,” Mural Arts Executive Director Jane Golden says.

Photograph courtesy of Steve Weinik


ARTS

“We have the best and most loyal fans in all of sports,” says Phillies marketing manager Michael Harris. Commemorating and celebrating this fan base was McShane’s goal, which he achieved with a colorful, dynamic composition visible from the Walnut Street Bridge, the Schuylkill River Trail, and even the I–76 expressway. The mural salutes the Phillies by focusing on the team’s greatest and most enduring moments: World Series titles, hall– of–famers, and of course, the Phillie Phanatic himself. With over 100 years of history, the team has brought home runs and plenty of hometown pride to Philadelphia—making it a part of the city’s culture that's more than worthy of such a monumental representation. Working side by side with the Philadelphia chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Marcus Akinlana transformed the veterans’ stories and struggles into a visual narrative that works to both commemorate and educate. Fighting on behalf of the United States in World War II, the Tuskegee Airmen were the first Black aviators in the country’s military history, credited with opening the doors for integration of the armed forces. Some sculptural attributes of the mural were created by students in workshops with the artist, particularly the 3D bas–relief, exemplifying how critical community involvement was to the project. Overall, the mural is a dynamic swirl of images that makes it hard to

tear your eyes away. Depictions of a boy wishfully gripping a model plane, a Red Tail fighter squadron, female parachute riggers, and the Philadelphian Tuskegee Airmen themselves all harmonize into a powerful message in this impressive retelling of history. "Love," "proud," "good," "help," "potential." These uplifting words and others are sprinkled throughout Colorful Legacy, a mural that challenges the stigma surrounding male emotional vulnerability. The mural’s rich color palette reveals the passion, feeling, and inspiration imbued within it, and enlivens what was once a regular old parking lot. It is part of a larger project, inspired by President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge, which seeks to raise awareness of the struggles faced by boys and men of color through initiatives like public town hall meetings, theater performances, and art. The mural employs an entire rainbow spectrum to spark positivity and inspiration, in the hopes of opening up a dialogue about access to education, jobs, and behavioral health services for young men. Colorful Legacy both reflects and promotes an empowering effort to push men and boys of color toward resiliency, self–confidence, and mutual support. This is just a small sample of all the murals Philadelphia has to offer, each with their own meanings and messages. Created in collaboration with art-

ists and local communities, the murals give anyone and everyone in their vicinity—businessmen on their way to work, tourists stuck in traffic, and curious college students alike—an educational and intriguing break from the city's grayscale monotony. Not every day can be spent at the museum, but with Philadelphia’s abundance of murals, our city brings the museum to us.

Halloween is for isbeer Halloween for beer

beer springfield distributor Photograph courtesy of Jessa Glassman

Studying too hard?

Photograph courtesy of Jessa Glassman

wishes you a happy Halloween

22 & Washington ave | (215) 546-7301 | We deliver

Take fi a break beer g n i r p s with us. eld

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General Tsao's House:

ST YLE

A Home for Sichuan Cuisine Quite literally one of Philly's hottest new restaurants, General Tsao's House is the place to be for lovers of spice and Chinese cuisine. | RACHEL KER

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here’s a new and authentic spot for Chinese cuisine hidden in plain sight just blocks away from Rittenhouse Square: General Tsao’s House. Named one of Philly's New + Notable restaurants by the The Philadelphia Inquirer's Craig Laban, General Tsao's House has brought "a taste of Sichuan fire" to the City of Brotherly Love. A beautiful mural of a Sichuanese woman decorates the wall as we first enter the restaurant. She’s decked in a full–fur winter coat, yet the atmosphere feels warm and pleasant. Waitresses walk by with plates of traditional cuisine. Immediately, the hostess greets us and directs us to our seats, which are situated in full view of an elegant bar and the inviting ambiance of the restaurant. It’s a perfect spot to gather with friends or have a first date. With a menu lined with dim sum, soups, noodles, and other traditional dishes, choosing from the list of options is easier said than done. We decide to try a little bit of everything: cumin lamb noodles, Sichuan cold noodles, steamed vegetable dumplings, Shanghai soup dumplings, Peking duck bao, and pepper chicken.

The restaurant's signature dishes are the pepper chicken and cumin lamb noodles. After digging in to these plates, we discover that this label is certainly deserved. The pepper chicken—although advertised as crispy—actually ends up being soft and savory, with hints of pepper and an oriental sweet and spicy sauce. The cumin lamb noodles are a dish made from hand–drawn noodles, lamb, and chili; it’s the perfect dish for spice lovers. The noodles, made in–house by the restaurant’s chefs, are especially chewy and thin. As for the Sichuan cold noodles? They're also a recommended item for spice lovers looking to devour a cold dish on a warm summer day. The dim sum certainly lives up to the hype as well. The Peking duck bao comes with duck and vegetables wrapped in a doughy, pillowy bun. Each bite is a beautiful combination of soft and crispy. The same goes for the steamed vegetable dumplings. Although the portions are small, the crunchy exterior and soft interior make these dumplings the perfect option for vegetarians. Unfortunately, the Shanghai soup dumplings don't give us the experience we anticipated,

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Photos by Sofika Janak as it has a drier interior than we expected. But given how much the other dishes recommended by our hostess exceeded our expectations, the soup quickly fades to the back of our minds. The vibe, the food, the authenticity: all are areas that General Tsao’s House shines in. If you’re looking to impress your dinner date with a hidden Chinese gem near Rittenhouse Square, look no further than General Tsao’s House.

TL;DR: Get an unforgettable taste of traditional Sichuan cuisine at General Tsao’s House—one of Philly's hottest new restaurants. Location: 1720 Sansom St. Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday Price: $$


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Photo by Anna Hochman

Down North is Serving Up Pizza with a Powerful Mission

This Strawberry Mansion favorite dishes out Detroit–style pizza—and supports previously incarcerated individuals. | ANNA HOCHMAN

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20–minute drive from Penn's campus, past the tranquil greens of Fairmount Park, a small pizza shop is nestled between brick buildings in Strawberry Mansion. Down North Pizza, located on West Lehigh Avenue and North 28th Street, serves Detroit–style pizza in a casual environment—all while upholding its mission of employing formerly incarcerated individuals and preventing recidivism. The restaurant's refreshing take on deep–dish and its community involvement recently earned it a feature on the The New York Times' 2021 50 favorite restaurants list. Although the restaurant is a little farther away than students tend to travel for a dinner outside of campus, Down North is certainly worth the trek. The prices are much more reasonable than the ones you typically see on Center City menus, meaning that the additional Uber costs won’t break the bank. The restaurant was bright and airy the night I visited, with two friends as my dinner dates. We walked right up to the counter to place our order. Our stomachs grumbled as we waited for our food, aromas of tangy tomato sauce and pepperoni wafting to our seats at the counter. Customers, staff members, and even a friendly dog trickled through the doors, contributing to a feeling of

community throughout the restaurant. We ordered the Uptown Vibes pizza—a vegetarian option packed with kale, mushrooms, peppers, and onions—as well as the garlic parmesan wings and the spicy cheese fries. The pizza crust was cooked perfectly: The edges were crispy and cheesy, while the base was chewy and spongy. The real standout was the sauce, which Down North calls “Norf ” sauce— dark red, spicy, a little bit sweet, and spread in diagonal stripes over the pie. The veggies and cheese were well balanced, every bite bursting with flavor. The wings were crispy but still well– coated in a garlicky sauce that we licked off our fingers after eating. The fries weren’t quite able to hold up their crisp due to their cheese sauce topping, but they were delicious nonetheless. The cheese sauce was creamy, with a slight spice coming through in the aftertaste. We washed our meal down with some house–made lemonade, which was refreshing and not overly sweet. Our experience at Down North certainly lived up to the hype. Supporting the neighborhood favorite's meaningful mission only added to the satisfaction our meal provided. On top of tasting the food, I also got the chance to chat with Muhammad Abdul–Hadi, Down North’s co–

founder and owner, about the restaurant’s mission. Abdul–Hadi saw a need in Strawberry Mansion for a restaurant that would benefit the community, in contrast to “businesses that would come into the neighborhood and not give back to the neighborhood.” The restaurant, which opened in March, exclusively hires individuals who were previously incarcerated, in line with its mission to provide opportunities for those whose lives have been impacted by the United States prison system. In addition to career development, Down North also helps provide housing and legal services. “If you want to solve the problem, it’s not just one thing,” says Abdul–Hadi. “It has to be a plethora of resources that we provide.” Housing discrimination is a major issue, he says, as landlords often won’t rent to those who have been previously incarcerated because of their backgrounds. This inability to rent often perpetuates a cycle of incarceration, as people are forced to go back to the “toxic environments that were sort of the reason they were in prison in the first place.” Abdul–Hadi owns the floors above Down North, which he's turned into apartments for employees. There's also a nonprofit attached to the restaurant,

the Down North Foundation, which has goals of planting sustainable gardens in North Philly and founding a community center that provides coding and gaming resources for youth in the area. “Not everybody's going to go to college,” says Abdul–Hadi, “so we want to make sure that they are able to be employed.” It’s also important to Abdul– Hadi that Down North is bringing people to a part of Philly that they otherwise might not experience. “I think a lot of people haven’t been exposed to the conditions that are in that part of North Philadelphia. They really had no reason to come here,” he says. By introducing more people to the neighborhood, Abdul–Hadi hopes that the restaurant will spark conversations about the inequality in the city that often leads to incarceration.

TL;DR: Come for the pizza, stay for the mission. Location: 2804 W Lehigh Ave. Hours: 12 p.m. until sold out Thursday – Sunday Price: $$

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UNDER THE BUTTON

Pass/Pass Option Now Mandatary for Wharton Students BY MERESA GARCÍA

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harton Dean Erika James recently announced that any student currently enrolled in the Wharton School will be mandated to take all courses Pass/Pass effective immediately. Not only does the new policy grant Wharton students a guaranteed zero-work course load during their four years at Penn, but its only stipulation is attendance for the first five minutes of class. “It’s good to know that administration just wants us

to take it easy,” commented Wharton sophomore Jack Riley, as he sprawled out on his bed, “because now, we’re actually doing the things that we’ll be doing at Goldman. Bonding with the boys until they give us their money.” The policy gives business students the time to focus on the only competitive aspect of Wharton: club recruitment. Unfortunately, the Wharton interdisciplinary programs, such as the Huntsman Program in International Stud-

ies and Business and Nursing and Health Care Management, are exempt from the Pass/Pass mandate. “Considering that these dual degrees require courses in other schools,” explained James, “It just wouldn’t be fair to our students if we granted non-Whartonites the same privileges.” Now, instead of four days completely free of work, Wharton students can have seven days of a stress-free college experience.

Photo by Biruk Tibebe

Yikes! Some Girl Commented 'Photo Credits to Me' Under Your Crush’s Instagram LIWA SUN

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Photo by JESHOOTS / CC0

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ou’ve been there. I’ve been there. We’ve all been there. You were just doing your usual 2 A.M. round on your crush’s Instagram page and going through the same three photo dumps from this summer when suddenly, you caught a comment from an unfamiliar account that you somehow missed during your daily check-ups on his page. The comment said, “Photo credits to me.” Naturally, the person who wrote this comment and your crush have been engaging in decadent sexual

entanglements. Otherwise, why would these two people have existed in the same space at the same time? As if that wasn’t enough, she even went so far as to take a photo of your crush! You clicked into the Instagram page, and it was a private account. Obviously, this girl is hiding the illicit affair that she has been carrying on with your crush from you. What other reasons could there be for her decision to set her page as private? The profile photo is a thin, white, blonde girl and according to the bio, she’s a junior at Georgetown

University. The conspiracy has been unveiled! During the entire time you have been harboring your hopeless crush on this guy (simply the most gorgeous love story of this century), he has been taking the 5:13 P.M. Amtrak to go to D.C. to see this girl and to have hot, hot sex with her behind your back. Yeah, this guy might have been a long-shot crush that you have never spoken to in your life, but that doesn’t make it OK for him to fuck Georgetown Emma without your consent. Total yikes!


UNDER THE BUTTON

NRA to Sponsor Huntsman Program JUSTINE ORGEL

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e all have our reasons for pledging allegiance to the Grand Old Party. Whether it be those damn immigrants, those damn taxes, those damn liberals, those damn baby killers, or those damn deer, the Grand Old Party has something for everyone. At Penn, the appeal of the GOP is primarily in the financial realm. I mean how are you going to use that lawfully earned Wall Street paycheck to buy things to satiate your wife’s expensive tastes or to buy another wife if all of that cash is going straight to nogood welfare schmucks? Typically, the other sectors of the multi-faceted party stay away from campus. The

libtard pussy-lickers just can’t be saved. At least, that’s what we all thought over here at the Turning Point Think Tank until it was revealed that the National Rifle Association is planning to sponsor the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business. Hunters are a dying breed (perhaps making them a valuable kill? Too soon?) To the NRA, which thrives off of the unwavering support of middle school-educated hunters, this is of dire concern. In a search for new sources of support, they’ve stumbled upon the Huntsman Program and are in the process of signing a grant and donating 50 moose heads (lord knows we need more!). This contract will be of great

use to the Huntsman Program. In recent years, the students have grown soft. They care about the international economy. Why? Why care about China when you can get vagina? They’ve forgotten what it means to be a Huntsman. To be a Huntsman is to kill your food, wear camouflage, and look scary — none of that vegan, soy milk shit that makes you gay. Real meat! In the next fiscal cycle, the freshman Huntsmen will be moved from KCECH to the masculine Butcher in the Quad, and students will likely see NRA representatives with fire and fury, easily recognized by their camouflage attire, unfriendly demeanors, and bright red hats. Make sure to greet them with open arms! Photo by Justine Orgel

Gutmann Shopping for Oktoberfest Outfit: ‘Which Sexy Lederhosen Is Most Professional?’ MARGARITA MATTACLOSE

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Photo by Margarita Matta

t was a sight to see Monday afternoon after Amy Gutmann was spotted entering Spirit Halloween in Center City. Sources say she was shopping for an outfit for the popular German beer festival, “Oktoberfest.” Gutmann, the University’s current president, was recently appointed as the next United States ambassador to Germany, an honorable and esteemed position. In an effort to participate in German cultural practices, she will be attending Oktoberfest in Munich this coming fall. The festival is infamous for its longstanding tradition of partying and beer drinking, and this will actually be Gutmann’s 12th time in attendance. She is a self-proclaimed “beer aficio-

nado” and has recently created a craft brew fittingly called “Beerjamin Franklin.” These beers were sent in the Class of 2025 welcome packages and students were overwhelmed with appreciation. After entering Spirit Halloween, Gutmann was quoted as asking store manager Joseph Kelly for the most appropriate traditional Lederhosen attire that would make her look “professional and honorable, but with an ass that just don’t quit.” After trying on several options from Spirit Halloween’s coveted “sexy professional” section on aisle 23, Gutmann settled on a few of her personal favorites for the week-long festival. She was also seen experi-

menting with sexy nurse and sexy Benjamin Franklin costumes. Gutmann already has an expansive collection of over 35 sexy lederhosen costumes and is certainly happy with her new additions, sources say. Gutmann is such an inspiring case of leadership, and she has certainly taught Penn students a lesson in regards to exposing themselves to new cultures and environments. So, to all of the pre-med students dressing as slutty nurses, art history majors sporting sexy Bob Ross costumes, and Wharton girls dressing as literally any slutty character from The Wolf of Wall Street, we salute you and your loyal commitment to the values of our president, Amy Gutmann.

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