‘Dinner with Interesting People’ Premieres ‘First Generation’ Documentary

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Media Contact:Jill DiSanto | jdisanto@upenn.edu | 215-898-4820January 31, 2012

Share a meal with unusual dining partners…for free.

Ware College House is in its second year of hosting “Dinner with Interesting People,” a program that has recently expanded to include students, faculty and staff at Penn.

Every Tuesday night, Ware invites members of the Penn community to join them for dinner in McClelland South Lounge to share a structured program and meal with a variety of guests, such as faculty members, notable businesspeople, politicians, administrators and filmmakers, who lead a conversation before and during a catered dinner.

Last semester, the Ware hosted a panel on socio-economic diversity at Penn.  One of the panel members, Eric Furda, Penn’s dean of admissions, suggested a continuation of the discussion about diversity and college access.  As a follow-up to the panel, event organizers planned a documentary screening for this semester in conjunction with its regularly scheduled “Dinner with Interesting People” series.

On Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 5:30 p.m., Ware will host a screening of “First Generation,” a documentary that shares the stories of four high school students who set out to break the cycle of poverty by pursuing a college education. 

“First Generation” talks with school administrators about the realities these students face when it comes to college acceptance and explores the students’ fears of what’s next.  The film documents who will make it – and who will be left behind.

Co-sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and the Greenfield Intercultural Center, this is the East Coast premiere of the award-winning documentary from Adam and Jaye Fenderson, who will be on hand to discuss the film afterwards during a Q&A session.

Admission is free, but an RSVP is required

Utsav Schurmans, the Ware house dean, says the College Houses are more than just dorms.

“The College Houses are not just a place where students sleep, study and hang out,” he says.  “They are fast becoming casual ‘think tanks’ with inclusive, community-building activities like these, which illustrate how they are the nexus of what’s happening all over campus.”

Other “Dinner with Interesting People” events include sharing a meal with:

Sandy Schwartz, a professor of medicine, health-care management and economics and of internal medicine and the faculty master at Fisher Hassenfeld College House, Feb. 14 at 5 p.m.

Janet Monge of the Department of Anthropology, the curator of the physical section at the Penn Museum, Feb. 21 at 5 p.m.

John Jackson Jr., professor of communication and of anthropology, senior advisor to the provost for diversity, the University’s first Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor and author of Racial Paranoia: The Unintended Consequences of Political Correctness, Feb. 28 at 5p.m.

Ware College House occupies the center portion of the Quadrangle and includes Morgan, Wilson, E.F. Smith, Coxe, Rodney, Bodine, Morris, Speakman, Butcher, Chestnut and McClelland halls, as well as the quadruple-turreted Memorial Tower.

Ware was named in honor of John H. Ware III.  A 1930 Wharton graduate, Ware was a state senator and U.S. representative, a community activist and a philanthropist.  

The Ware family financially supports “Dinner with Interesting People,” making these events possible.