Penn Graduate Student Center

Penn Theme

About Penn Theme

Each year, the Penn Provost’s office sponsors a series of events around a theme chosen by faculty, staff and students.  Past themes have included: Evolution, Water, Games, Sound, and Health

2016-17 is the Year of Media, devoted to exploring the theme of media across many areas of inquiry. Join us for events devoted to this fascinating topic. And let us know if you have ideas for events related to Discovery during the year!

Call for Submissions

Call for Submissions: Year of Media Art Exhibition

Submissions due by Sunday, January 29, 2017

About the Art Exhibition

The University of Pennsylvania Graduate Student Center is pleased to announce a call for artistic submissions for Spring 2017. Each year, the Graduate Student Center invites members of the Penn graduate community to submit works of art for display in the Graduate Student Center Welfer Common Room.

This year's exhibition focuses on ideas and concepts related to the Penn Theme Year of Media. Media is a vital part of human society and shapes our everyday experiences. It has also evolved dramatically through history together with technology. People may have different interpretations and expressions of media, displaying its complex contents, formats, projections, and impacts. We encourage submissions conveying the theme of media, as interpreted by the individual artist. We will also have an opening reception to highlight selected pieces and introduce the artists.

Submission Details

Who: We will only accept submissions from Penn graduate students.

What: Works of art can be from the areas of painting, drawing, photography, lithography or other print media; with a limit of 5 submissions per artist. Works of art should be no smaller than 8x10 and no larger than 36x50. Unfortunately, we are not able to display sculptural, ceramic or other 3D works of art. Artists must also provide their own frames or mounts so that works can be hung from the display rails in the Graduate Student Center.

How: Submissions can be sent to using the subject "Year of Media Art Submission". Please include the follow in your submission: (1) Your name, (2) Degree and graduate program, (3) Titles of the piece(s) (optional), and (4) a brief (1-3 sentences) description of how it relates to the theme of Year of Media. Artists who have paintings, drawings, etc. which are already mounted and have an internet viewable portfolio, please email a link. Those artists who have photography that is not printed and framed, please send your submissions as email attachments.

Submission Deadline: January 29, 2017.

Artists whose work(s) is selected by the committee will:

  • have their work displayed in the Graduate Student Center Welfer Common Room until the end of the Spring semester. 
  • be invited to the Opening Reception at the Graduate Student Center on February 15
  • receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card prize
  • be entered into the Student's Favorite contest on the Grad Center Facebook page in early February. Details and additional prizes to be released later. 

Feel free to contact us at with any questions.

Year of Media

YoM Movie Night: Miss Representation

Thursday, February 02, 2017, 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Common Room Back (1st Fl), Grad Center, 3615 Locust Walk

Like drawing back a curtain to let bright light stream in, Miss Representation uncovers a glaring reality we live with every day but fail to see. Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the film exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The film challenges the media's limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself.

In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman's value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.

Stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists and academics, like Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson and Gloria Steinem build momentum as Miss Representation accumulates startling facts and statistics that will leave the audience shaken and armed with a new perspective.

Free food will be provided. 

The Love Letter Mural Art Tour

Saturday, February 11, 2017, 01:00 PM - 03:00 PM
Starts at 34th and Market Subway Station
Price: $10 each, limit 2 per Graduate Penn Card

Special event right before Valentine's Day: Experience the power of murals by train on a Love Letter tour!

Noted street artist and hometown hero Stephen Powers (aka ESPO) and crew, in collaboration with the Mural Arts Program, painted a series of 50 murals on rooftops that collectively express a love letter from a guy to a girl, from an artist to his hometown and from local residents to their West Philadelphia neighborhood. Many of the murals have recently been restored and even some new ones have been added, so now more than ever is this the time to take this exciting and unique tour!

The tour is led by a professionally trained guide that tells the stories behind these murals at different stops along the elevated train ride, as well as the 30-year history of the Mural Arts Program. Appropriate outdoor weather attire is strongly suggested.

The ticket is $10 and each graduate student can purchase up to 2 tickets. We will meet at the 34th and Market Subway Station. Tokens will be provided for the tour. Participants will also receive a discount card for $5 off admission to the PAFA museum and galleries. Please purchase tickets at the front desk of Graduate Student Center, 3615 Locust Walk. 

YoM Movie Night: The Mask You Live In

Thursday, March 30, 2017, 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Common Room Back (1st Fl), Grad Center, 3615 Locust Walk
Registration start: Thursday, March 02, 2017

The Mask You Live In follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America's narrow definition of masculinity.

Pressured by the media, their peer group, and even the adults in their lives, our protagonists confront messages encouraging them to disconnect from their emotions, devalue authentic friendships, objectify and degrade women, and resolve conflicts through violence. These gender stereotypes interconnect with race, class, and circumstance, creating a maze of identity issues boys and young men must navigate to become "real" men.

Experts in neuroscience, psychology, sociology, sports, education, and media also weigh in, offering empirical evidence of the "boy crisis" and tactics to combat it. The Mask You Live In ultimately illustrates how we, as a society, can raise a healthier generation of boys and young men.

Free food will be provided!

Common Room Hours

Monday-Thursday: 9AM-8PM Friday: 9AM-6PM Saturday-Sunday: 12PM-6PM

Graduate Student Center

3615 Locust Walk
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia PA 19104-6221