The Econ Scream: A Freshman Tradition at Penn

Like the vast majority of my fellow freshman, I currently live in the Quadrangle. My room is located on the fifth floor, right in the middle of a large expanse of greenery across Lower Quad Gate. On the night of October 5, 2011 I remember sitting on my desk, pouring over the volumes of cases I had to read over for my Legal Studies class. Just before 11:30pm, a familiar yet muffled tune passed through my open window. Gradually, the music grew louder. The beat intensified and my walls began to tremble. I gave up any prospect of doing work and ran down the stairs, eager to find the source of commotion. An incredible sight met my eyes: hundreds of freshman, eating all the doughnuts money could buy and dancing their hearts out on top of the McClelland balcony.

The crowd swelled with excitement as the top of the hour approached. Far too soon the countdown had started. As the number five rang through my ears, I finally managed to find a group of my friends. We had no time to greet each other; the crowd was already chanting the number four. As three approached we all huddled together. At two, I couldn’t help but reflect on how many Penn freshman had partaken in this tradition before me. Then there was one second left. The crowd collectively took a deep breath in anticipation for zero, at which time we screamed together like we had never done before.