At Penn, there’s a group for almost anything. Despite the academic struggle that many people go through, or the many friend groups one might oscillate between, Penn has several groups that cater to many aspects of a person’s identity. 

One of these groups is Penn’s Latter–day Saint Student Association (LDSSA), which meets in the Philadelphia Mormon Temple. Duval Courteau (C’20) shares her experience with the group. 

The group gets together during the week and throughout the year to do “anything from scripture study to barbecues and get–togethers.” Occasionally, groups get together to go to seminary. They sometimes hold holiday festivities. 

Duval shares that she’s made a lot of friends through LDSSA: “People will invite us to dinner and it’s a wonderful time. It’s great to share a nice homemade meal together. We sit down, bond, update each other on life and keep in touch with people that hold the same values that we hold.”

She continues, “At the heart, it’s a loving community. One of the main bases of our faith: loving everyone around us. I was dealing with some tough stuff beginning of freshman year. They talk to you, pray for you, invite you over, and help in any way they can.” She's happy to have found reliable, trustworthy group of people. 

Having the group here on campus has taught Duval to balance her faith and her life at a secular university. “It provides a grounding, like a rock. I’m not the only Mormon at Penn, which is great because both are amazing identities to have and places to be at.” She continues that having that kind of support system has been very helpful. 

“As a community it continues to be a wonderful and secure place. That won’t change,” Duval says. The LDSSA wishes to be more well–known on campus to reach any of the faith who might not be aware that there is such a group. They welcome anyone who’s curious about their religious life at Penn to accompany them to church, for instance, or drop by for a visit and ask questions, whenever they want to. 

One of the issues that the club has run into is matching schedules and making times work. “Sometimes we have to move or cancel an event just because everybody at Penn is so busy,” Duval explains.

She thinks that the “funny, sweet, and open group” has positively influenced her mental health in college. “Mental health at Penn is a very large issue that spans across campus, so just knowing that I have a group to turn to that will always be there is a nice safety net, which is a huge relief.”


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