News Briefs

plastic bottles

The future? Plastics

The nearly 2,500 seniors at Penn’s 2010 Commencement will be wearing caps and gowns made of post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. The fabric will be spun from molten plastic pellets, with an average of 23 bottles needed to make each gown. Recycled plastic bottles are already used to make sweatshirts and other clothing that is virtually indistinguishable in color, fit and feel from traditional polyester material.

For every gown purchased, the gown manufacturer will also make a contribution to a Penn environmental group, the University’s Green Fund.

In brief

The 60 Second Lectures are back, which feature faculty from the School of Arts and Sciences talking about politics, poetry and everything in between—in just a minute. Remaining talks this month include Angela Duckworth, assistant professor of psychology on Sept. 23, talking about “Why Achievement Isn’t ‘Normal,’” and Philippe Bourgois, a PIK professor of anthropology and family medicine on Sept. 30, discusses “Anthropology and Globalization: An Urgent Challenge and Responsibility.”

All talks take place on Stiteler Plaza, located at Locust Walk and 37th St. (rain location is the Houston Hall Reading Room) at 11:55 a.m. For more information, and to watch past 60 Second Lectures, go to:

We all scream for ice cream

Starting this fall, when craving a sweet treat, people can opt for a Penn-themed, locally produced dessert.

The Quaker Crunch—vanilla ice cream with red and blue M & M’s—will be served by Bon Appetit at Penn Dining, starting this month. The milk used to produce the ice cream comes from the Holstein dairy herd housed at Penn Vet’s Marshak Dairy, located at the New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa. Built in 1996, the greenhouse dairy was the first of its kind, and uses natural lighting and excellent ventilation within the barn to provide a healthy environment for the cows. Each cow produces about 70 lbs. of milk per day; the entire herd produces about 1,500 lbs. This milk is sold and marketed through Land-O-Lakes Dairy Cooperative, but about 400 gallons will be diverted to Kilby Cream, a Rising Sun, Md.-based creamery, that will turn the milk into the delicious dessert.

Look for the ice cream at Penn dining halls and the new Hershey Ice Cream store in 1920 Commons.

Be inspired

The University City neighborhood boasts some beautiful old houses—and some gorgeous gardens. To honor some of the best green thumbs in the area, the University City District and UC Green are seeking nominations for the fifth annual University City Gardening and Beautification Awards. The 2009 awards will honor nominees for outstanding examples of creative gardening approaches. People can nominate a public space, front or private yard, public landscape, tree planting project or block improvement. Nominates must be postmarked by Friday, Sept. 25.

To nominate a garden, visit the UCD site at and search for “Inspirational Gardens.”

Take back the night

With the support of the Trustees’ Council of Penn Women, the Division of Public Safety is offering free Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) classes to all Penn women.

The RAD System is a comprehensive course that includes awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance, and includes the basics of hands-on defense training. Classes are held on Wednesday, Sept. 23 and Sept. 30, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Tuesday, Sept. 29, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Courses are taught by certified RAD instructors. While not a martial arts program, the system of realistic defense provides women with the knowledge to make an educated decision about resistance. Classes are held at the Division of Public Safety, 4040 Chestnut St. There are additional classes held in October and November. For more information, contact Penn Police Officer Stacey Livingston at 215-898-3590 or email



Originally published on September 17, 2009