At the end of her freshman year, Ashley Barrett reflects on her experience at Penn so far and the places she feels most welcome despite Penn’s obvious problems:

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Name: Ashley Barrett
Class Year: 2019

I went to a boarding school for four years before I arrived at Penn. In fact, all my life, I have never been part of the majority – I always attended predominantly white schools. Because of this, I am used to being a minority at Penn. However, something that I was not used to, at least upon arriving here at the beginning of my freshman year, and something that I truly admire and love about this school, is the amount of support and the community-atmosphere from Makuu and the rest of the Black community. Whenever I walk into Makuu, regardless of whether I am friends with whoever is in that space or not, I am always greeted and I always feel welcome. I have a support system that extends past my close friends, and that is something I was never really used to growing up. It is no surprise that there are times when being black at Penn is evident and even challenged, whether that be at supposedly “full” parties, during controversial class discussions, or intense political conversations, but the reasons why I love Penn definitely overshadow those instances, every single time. 


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