Penn Healthy You Penn Challenge

Get ready for your next team challenge!
Bon appétit! You’re about to begin a global journey in search of the perfect (and healthy) dish. As you add up steps, try recipes that’ll give you the stamina to finish well. At each stop, check out local cuisine and try simple recipes you can make at home.

Challenge Rules

The Penn Challenge lasts 2 weeks, starting Monday, September 13 at 12 am ET, and ending Sunday, September 26 at 11:59 pm ET.
The deadline to upload your steps is Wednesday, September 29 at 11:59 pm ET. Steps uploaded after this date won’t be counted in the final results. (Please note: The platform will only allow you to enter steps for the previous 14 days. For example, steps for September 13 must be uploaded by September 27.)

Teams can have up to 5 participants.
You can join an existing team or create a new team. It’s up to you!
Either way, try to have a full team of 5 to maximize your score.

Directions and Scores
Team scores are based on total team steps. All team members need to upload their steps to help the team advance and unlock destinations.
The more steps your team tracks, the better your score.
To contribute to your team score, connect a device or upload steps from a fitness tracker or app. You must visit the Virgin Pulse app at least once every week for devices to successfully upload steps.
You can get credit for 30,000 steps a day, so aim high!
The team with the highest total steps at the end of the challenge wins.

As you progress, try to unlock each destination with your team.
If you unlock all of the stages before the challenge ends, remember to keep walking! Another team could still pass you on the Challenge Leaderboard.

Good to Know
If you leave the Penn Challenge, you have until September 16 at 11:59 pm ET to rejoin. If you don’t rejoin by this date, you won’t be able to participate in this challenge.
Participant names and step counts may be shared with other challenge participants and administrators.
The platform allows you to go back up to 14 days and enter steps, prior to the final upload deadline on September 29. Skip the hassle and track daily!
For more information or to sign up, visit the Virgin Pulse site at

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Enhance your career with MCIT Online

As a member of the Penn Professional Staff Assembly, you already know that Penn Engineering offers outstanding programs in computer science. But did you know that our longstanding Master of Computer and Information Technology (MCIT) degree is also available online?

Specifically designed for working professionals without a computer science background, MCIT Online gives you access to Penn Engineering’s faculty to expand your CS knowledge and further your professional credentials. And because it’s entirely online, you’ll learn together with fellow students from around the world while also balancing your work schedule.

Explore our robust collection of FAQs or check out one of our on-demand admissions webinars. If you’d like to connect with us, send us an email at or swing by one of our upcoming Coffee Chats. We look forward to hearing from you!

Spring 2022 applications for MCIT Online close October 15, so get started today!

*MCIT Online Website:
*On-demand Admissions Webinars:
*Coffee Chats:

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Fox Fitness Center Reopening

Penn Campus Recreation is excited to announce the reopening of the Fox Fitness Center on Tuesday, September 7th! The facility has been redesigned to create more space for individual, small group, and educational programming options, while still offering cardio and strength equipment for general use.

Group classes will begin later this fall, so look for another message in early October announcing the schedule and some free demo class sessions!

Fox Fitness Center Hours for the semester are Monday through Friday, 6AM-8PM, and the facility is open to all active Campus Recreation members. Day lockers are available (users must bring a lock), and locker room facilities with showers are located at the Tse Center just steps away.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Beginning Friday, 9/17, a Green OpenPass will be required for all persons entering Pottruck. Students, Faculty, Staff should be enrolled in the PennOpen Pass program. Guests, Spouses, Dependents, Alumni, and visitors can complete their screening by going to the PennOpen Campus page.

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Commuting Information Resource Portal Now Available

To support faculty and staff exploring what commuting and parking options are available, Penn Transportation and Parking has implemented a new commuting information resource portal.  This website,, connects you to important information about discounted public transit and bike commuter options, how Penn Transit can serve commuters who reside near the University, campus parking options, and other valuable resources and updates. 

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A Message to Faculty, Staff, and Postdocs on Vaccination Status and Return to Campus

Repost of information at

As we look ahead to a vibrant fall semester, with a full resumption of in-person teaching, research, and University operations, maintaining a safe and healthy environment for the entire Penn community remains our highest priority.

Vaccine Requirement

The single most important measure each of us can take to protect ourselves along with those on campus and in our surrounding communities is to get vaccinated against COVID-19. With well-grounded confidence in the safety, effectiveness, and broad availability of COVID-19 vaccines, we previously announced that all students are required to be vaccinated for the fall semester with exemptions provided only for medical and religious reasons.

Today we are announcing that all current faculty, staff, and post-doctoral trainees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no later than August 1, 2021. Employees of Penn’s health schools must follow any additional school-specific guidelines.

In the next two weeks, we will launch a simple process in Workday for all employees and post-doctoral trainees to record their COVID-19 vaccination status securely and confidentially. Vaccinated faculty, staff, and post-docs should enter their vaccination information by July 1. When the process launches, you will receive step-by-step instructions and reminders on how to complete this task in Workday. New hires and those vaccinated after July 1 should update their record as soon as possible.

Effective July 1, individuals who have recorded being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in their Workday record will be exempt from regular Penn Cares screening testing. Individuals who report their vaccination status after July 1 will be exempt thereafter. Penn Cares testing remains a highly effective public health tool on campus. We thank those of you who have been participating diligently throughout the fall, spring, and early summer semesters.

We recognize that some individuals will choose not to obtain vaccines for medical and religious reasons, and some may choose not to disclose their vaccine status. Faculty, staff, and post-doctoral trainees who are not fully vaccinated will be required to continue to participate in daily symptom checks on PennOpen Pass and weekly Penn Cares screening testing, as well as to continue to wear masks indoors.

Vaccine Availability

There is clear evidence that vaccines are both safe and highly effective at stopping the spread of COVID-19. More than 1.7 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide and half of the adult population in the U.S. are vaccinated. The protection provided by the vaccines is proven to be very high. Unvaccinated individuals, however, still have a high COVID-19 case rate.

COVID-19 vaccines are now widely available through most retail pharmacy chains such as CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens. You can also visit to find a location near you or use a link on your Green PennOpen Pass to call the Penn Medicine COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling Hotline for assistance.

Other Safety Measures

As we previously announced, for gatherings, classes, meetings, and returning to the office, we will follow the guidance of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. The City of Philadelphia will lift physical distancing restrictions tomorrow, June 2. Accordingly, classrooms, labs, and other University spaces will be used at 100 percent capacity.

While requirements for mask use while outdoors on campus for those who are fully vaccinated were lifted last week, mask use has been shown to be an effective disease prevention tool. Eventually, mask use will not be required indoors, but it will remain an effective preventative measure, especially during cold and flu season.

Beginning July 1, use of PennOpen Pass will be required just for employees who have not reported their vaccine status. PennOpen Pass will support testing compliance and daily symptom checking for those individuals, but it will no longer be used to enter campus buildings. Vaccinated individuals should expect to return to pre-pandemic conditions while on campus. We are actively evaluating when we can phase out other campus health measures instituted in the wake of the pandemic. These timetables will depend upon the widespread vaccination of our employees.

For more than a year, we have all worked tirelessly to fulfill our mission of delivering exceptional education and research, while keeping the Penn community and those around us safe from illness. We have followed the science and the guidelines established by federal, state, and local authorities. Vaccines have proven to be safe and highly effective in preventing hospitalizations, death, and the spread of the virus. Getting vaccinated and recording your vaccination status are the next and most critical steps in our collective efforts to end this crisis and return to normalcy.

We look forward to seeing you on campus very soon.

Amy Gutmann, President
Wendell Pritchett, Provost
Craig Carnaroli, Executive Vice President

Last Updated 06/01/2021 – 11:58

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New Commuter Parking Card Now Available to Penn Parking Patrons

Penn Transportation and Parking has introduced a new option for faculty and staff who require occasional parking as part of their commutes. Read more …

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COVID-19 Childcare Grant

The Penn COVID-19 Childcare Grant helps Penn faculty, staff, and postdoctoral trainees who incur childcare expenses for care in their homes or in a childcare center, during the academic year from September 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021. If you meet the criteria described below, you are eligible to apply and receive up to $2,000 (before taxes) per household as reimbursement for childcare expenses. The grant application is available in Workday from September 15, 2020 through May 31, 2021.

To apply, follow these steps:

  1. Log into Workday.
  2. Search for “Create Request” in the Workday search box.  Select “Create Request.”
  3. Select “All” from the Request Type Menu and navigate to “COVID-19 Childcare Grant Application.”
  4. Click “OK.”
  5. Answer all questions on the application, ensuring the necessary supporting documentation is attached.
  6. Sign the application by typing full legal name in Question 10.
  7. Click Submit.

Eligibility Criteria 

  • Be an active, full-time, Penn benefits-eligible employee or postdoctoral trainee. Faculty, staff, and postdoctoral trainees who are on leave or sabbatical are not eligible. Faculty, staff, and postdoctoral trainees must be completing their normal work requirements remotely or on campus.
  • Have at least one child aged 10 or younger and/or 11-18 years of age with a disability-related special need at the time of the first application.
  • The grant amount is per household, not per child. If both parents are employed at the University of Pennsylvania, the Childcare Grant benefit is limited to the benefit that would be provided to one faculty or staff member.
  • Have a yearly Penn salary of $100,000 or less (from all Penn sources).

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Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0 Annual Report

The Penn Sustainability Office has just released the Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0 Annual Report FY20, based on data and metrics from fiscal year 2020 gathered from across many academic and administrative units at the University. The Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0 Annual Report FY20 documents Penn’s progress towards the goals of the 2019 Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0 (CSAP3.0), tracking metrics in Academics, Utilities & Operations, Physical Environment, Waste Minimization & Recycling, Purchasing, Transportation, and Outreach & Engagement. This report offers an annual, comprehensive, graphic, and concise presentation of progress in key metrics during the previous fiscal year. Find the report on Penn Sustainability’s website at

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Penn ECard website

We invite you to explore our newly redesigned eCard website, featuring a clean and modern look, new functionality that allows users to conveniently send to multiple contacts at one time, over ten new cards, and a brand new “Zoom Background” category that allows users to download six campus scenes and custom Penn-branded backgrounds to share their Penn Pride on their next Zoom call or Teams meeting. Be sure to explore our wide selection of winter-themed greetings, and peruse a variety of animated and static eCard designs, with options for music, for other occasions and celebrations. Thank you for using the Penn eCard site – the Greener way to share the Red & Blue!

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Chats with Jack: 2020-2021

Please register your interest in joining an upcoming Chats with Jack session to be held quarterly. Vice President for Human Resources, Jack Heuer, Ed.D., will join a select group of monthly-paid employees to discuss any and all Human Resources questions brought forward.  

For each session, a small group of staff members will be invited to meet with the Vice President and a PPSA Tri-Chair to further lines of communication and foster open dialogue. Staff members are selected at random from among all registrants with the goal of resolving frequently and not-so-frequently asked questions and communicating them to our colleagues. PPSA remains grateful for Dr. Heuer’s engagement with PPSA, especially in this intimate setting.

To register for a chance to participate in Chats with Jack, click here.

All sessions will be held virtually, between November 2020 and May 2021. For more information, write the PPSA Tri-Chairs at ppsa @

Kris Forrest, PPSA Chair
Patrick Walsh, PPSA Chair-elect
Nadir Sharif, PPSA Past Chair

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