Freshman Summer Camp

Freshman Camp
Photo credit: University Archives

Some things about being a Penn freshman haven’t changed much: Convocation still features a rousing speech from Penn’s President, for one, and pangs of homesickness will likely hit the Class of 2012 as much as they did the Class of 1950.

But numerous things about being a Penn freshman have changed. Dramatically so. The old rule requiring all freshmen to wear a black cap six days out of seven, for instance, no longer applies. And the tradition of “Freshman Camp” no longer exists, either.

The two-night Freshman Camp excursion was an optional pre-orientation activity, organized by the Women’s Student Government Association, in which new students participated in campfires, singing, skits and discussions with University administrators—a perfect way to bond before the school year began. The event was held at a summer camp in Green Lane, Montgomery County.

This image, from 1951, shows a group of young women getting ready to take a hike and celebrate their new status as Penn students.

For more on this and other notable moments in Penn history, go to the University Archives web site at

Originally published on September 4, 2008