The Aesthetics of Social Impact: Penn Beauty

Most people see the world of cosmetics and efforts to achieve social change as spheres that do not touch. However, Penn students, Via Lim and Chloe Minjoo Kim, prove that the two can thrive when combined. Founders of the newly created club called Penn Beauty, the two freshman have launched their organization with full force, focusing on cosmetics, nail art, hair styling, hygiene, and more.

So far, Lim and Kim have held their first information session and general body meeting, garnering over 20 members, a large amount of interest, and a passionate group of board applicants. After discussion and planning, they’ve organized several proposals for the year that are on par with their mission statement of using beauty as a means to social impact.

To explore the nuances of the Pen Beauty’s mission, I spoke with President, Via Lim, and Vice President, Chloe Minjoo Kim on their project.

Vice President, Chloe Minjoo Kim, and President, Via Lim (credit: Via Lim)

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Shedding Some More Light on Daylight Savings

This past weekend, people were probably having a typical Sunday night: plowing through backlogs of procrastinated work, mourning the loss of yet another weekend and preparing themselves for another dreary Monday. As I was doing just this, I checked my phone for the time: one second it read 2:00 AM and the next it said 1:00 AM. After the initial heart attack and serious debate about whether I had lost my mind, I realized that daylight savings had ended. I thought “Oh, right, this is something we still do.”, and went on to try to remind myself why.

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The Anxiety of Learning a New Language

I walked into the first day of RUSS001 excited to finally learn the language and culture that always left me in awe. The art and aesthetics I loved as a teenager were typically Soviet or Russian, from Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita to t.A.T.u. I was going to take it freshman year at Penn before my pre-major adviser suggested taking Spanish to fulfill my language requirement, and then to take Russian if I was interested. She warned me of the agony if I decided to take Russian but ended up hating it. I took her suggestion, figuring that it didn’t hurt to improve my Spanish. Now that the language requirement was out of the way, I could have fun. I was ready.

Not so fast.

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Returning From a Leave

It’s hard to return from a leave of absence. It’s even harder to come back knowing that you feel worse than before.

Let me explain: I took a leave after fall semester last year because of unbearable circumstances and experiences that rattled my emotional core. I could write an entire book on the events leading to my leave, but this is sufficient for now.

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What NOT to Say to Someone Suffering from Depression

Trigger warning: This article talks about depression.

In a given year, depression affects about seven percent of the American population. With many millions suffering from it, most people likely know someone who is depressed.

There is a stigma surrounding depression, and a lack of understanding from people who don’t experience it. As a result, even when people think they are comforting and helping, they often end up making the sufferer feel more alone and misunderstood.

Some comments come from a good place, but are misguided due to a lack of information about depression. Depression is the result of a combination of biological and environmental factors; imbalances in brain chemistry, trauma, and other things beyond a person’s control can contribute to them having depression. Unfortunately, many people associate depression with grief or regular sadness, and what they say about it reflects that. These comments aren’t cruel, but they are uninformed.

Other comments are quite insensitive and outright mean or rude.

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Life and Death on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

4/8/15 - Pine Ridge, South Dakota
When I stepped out of the tiny airport in Rapid City, I felt culture shock; 
I’ve never seen so much nothing. Now in the car, the yellow grasses fly by 
in a blur as rock formations roll on like waves. This place is unlike any I’ve 
experienced, but it does hold its own beauty. As the mist settles on the black hills, 
there’s this quality about the plains that reminds me of water, a familiar stillness, 
not unlike the ocean at dawn.

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School Climate: Creating Spaces Conducive to Children’s Learning

We often talk about a student’s love of learning as being crucial for their success in school. But what about their love of school itself? In recent years, educators have begun thinking more and more about the impact that a school’s feeling can have on how well children perform, something experts call “school climate.” Broadly defined, school climate encompasses “the feelings and attitudes elicited by a school’s environment”. These emotions create a subjective viewpoint for students, parents, and faculty members towards the school that shapes how much they feel tied to the institution.
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Let’s Talk About Minority Mental Health

I grew up with the idea that mental illness wasn’t real. “It’s an excuse,” my mom would say to me, “You’re lazy, so you have ADD. You want to complain, so you have depression.” In a predominantly Asian suburb, this was a piece of common knowledge imparted by our traditional parents. I heard about people committing suicide on the news, but they never looked like me. Everything I’d been taught suggested that our race was not susceptible to this strange, imaginary illness. Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Minority Mental Health”

Female Freshmen: Perceptions of Danger

How do you feel late at night on Locust Walk?

Do you feel like you’re in danger? Do you think your college campus is perfectly safe?

The United States Department of Justice defines sexual assault as “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.” [1] Many different actions fall under the category of sexual assault.

Women in college are three times more likely to be sexually assaulted than women in general—23.1 percent experience assault during their college years, as well as 5.4 percent of men [2]. And scarily, according to a 2015 report, 20.8 percent of female undergraduate students (and 4.5 percent of male undergraduate students) at the University of Pennsylvania have experienced unwanted sexual touching [3]. This year welcomed a new freshman class to Penn—the Class of 2020. With these frightening statistics, it would be understandable for women to feel apprehension about this potential campus danger. However, perceptions of this underlying threat seem to be very mixed within the freshman class.

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