Posts filed under ‘Campus events’
Our pal Curtis Chan ’94, ’03g, who works over in the College of Engineering and who does a little sports photography on the side, took some photos for us last night in the Jordan Center, at the “Signature Event” that new football coach James Franklin staged to celebrate Penn State’s success on National Signing Day. We thought you might enjoy seeing some of them; here’s a quick slide show:
Thanks for the images, Curtis!
Tina Hay, editor
Signing of the times: Yesterday, we told you about the morning’s National Signing Day extravaganza in the Lasch Building (there was an omelet station, people). But that was just the beginning. Last night’s “Signature Event” at the BJC featured even more fanfare, with help from the Blue Band, the cheerleaders, and LaVar Arrington ’00, who helped Coach James Franklin introduce the recruits. Check out the Football Letter’s recap here.
A powerful message: The Winter Olympics in Sochi are upon us, and on the eve of the opening ceremony, former NBA player John Amaechi ’94 is speaking out against’s Russia’s anti-gay laws. In a piece from yesterday’s The Guardian, Amaechi encourages athletes to use social media to “make their position clear.” Those who don’t speak out, he says, are complicit: ”For me, silence in the face of attendance in Sochi is complicity. You become nothing more than another Sochi mascot that people can have their photograph taken with as a memento of the abdication of responsibility.”
Snow daze: It’s a question most of us probably asked ourselves yesterday morning, while trudging through the slippery sludge around University Park: What does it take for Penn State to get a snow day? Well, as Onward State‘s Ali Fogarty found out, the answer is fairly complex — and it involves an official “snow marshal.”
Mary Murphy, associate editor
Anti-social development: Another big step in efforts to crack down on State Patty’s Day, the student-created drinking holiday started in 2007 and slated this year for Saturday, March 1: The Penn State Interfraternity Council announced yesterday its plans to ban “social functions” from Feb. 28 to March 2, hoping to deter out-of-town visitors from coming to Penn State for the previously notorious party weekend. This comes two years after more than 20 downtown bars and restaurants opted to close or modify alcohol service on State Patty’s Day — a practice that expanded last year, with more State College establishments taking part.
Ho Ho 2.0: Looks like Santa’s pretty tech-savvy these days. The big guy video-chatted with some patients at the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital this week, with help from the hospital’s Child Life Program and Cisco Systems. The adorable photos, like this one (above) of Abby and her mom Miranda, will melt even the Grinchiest of hearts.
Listen to this music: And while you’re in the holiday spirit, take a couple of minutes to vote for the Blue Band in a new contest sponsored by audio manufacturer Polk Audio. Contestants were asked to record their version of the Doobie Brothers’ “Listen to the Music,” and in true Blue Band fashion, their rendition goes above and beyond. The winning act wins a free trip to Las Vegas to open for John Legend and rock group Walk Off the Earth. Check out the Blue Band’s video and cast your vote here by Dec. 20. But heads up: You’ll have to “Like” Polk Audio on Facebook in order to view the video—those tricky rascals. Still, it’s worth it.
Heartbreak—and healing: Tomorrow, Dec. 14, marks the one-year anniversary of the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Conn. A candle light vigil will be held in front of Old Main to honor the 26 victims and their families. Organized by the Center for Ethics and Religious Affairs and a student-run support group formed in the wake of the tragedy, the event is set for 7 p.m., and will begin with a choir performance by Essence of Joy.
Lasting legacy: Penn State students gathered on the Old Main lawn last night to honor Nelson Mandela, who passed away Thursday. The vigil was organized by Penn State’s NAACP chapter, the African Student Association, and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. Several students, including ASA member Precious Anizoba, spoke about Mandela’s legacy: “Here was a man who simply set his goals then went out and accomplished them. He had a passion for his work. We risk mediocrity if we do not find and pursue our passions.”
Harrowing details: Last week, we told you about Lone Survivor, an upcoming film based on the mission that took the life of Lt. Michael Murphy ’98, among 18 other American casualties. This morning, NBC’s Today Show featured an interview with Marcus Luttrell, the only Navy SEAL to survive. The details of how the mission (which included a three-hour gunfight) played out are intense, and Luttrell says the movie’s reenactment is accurate — and powerful.
Snow days galore: Lots of snow days for students at Penn State branch campuses this morning, thanks to some serious snow in Southeastern PA. At last count, the Mont Alto, Berks, York, Lehigh Valley, Abington, and Brandywine campuses closed today due to inclement weather. Check @psutxt on Twitter for updates, and stay safe out there.
Splurge control: Here’s some timely research news from Penn State’s S. Shyam Sundar, distinguished professor of communications. According to an online study, long transactions can cause online shoppers to become more impulsive with their purchases, a result of “decision fatigue”— which, for me, goes a little something this: Monogrammed? No. Overnight shipping? No. Gift-wrapped and dipped in chocolate? FINE! Fortunately, according to Sundar’s research, shoppers can regain some self-control when their decisions express their personalities — for instance, when someone concerned about the environment is given eco-friendly options that “affirm their green identity.” Interesting stuff.
Dreaming of a Blue Christmas: Actually, it’s no dream. The video below is the very real holiday light display set up by Robert Witt ’01 of Schwenksville, Pa. It started blowing up the internet yesterday, and it is something else:
I’m not gonna lie: I’m not sure I’d want to live right next door to that. But it is impressive work.
Hump day hoops: The 10th-ranked Lady Lions continue a tough non-conference schedule tonight when they host No. 4 Notre Dame in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The match-up marks the first meeting between Penn State coach Coquese Washington and her Fighting Irish counterpart, Muffet McGraw, but as the Daily Collegian tells us, the two have serious history: Washington played for and later coached under McGraw at Notre Dame, which won the 2001 national championship while she was an assistant.
The Nittany Lions fell at Pitt last night, 78-69, in their Big Ten/ACC match-up. It was a close game throughout, and an impressive showing for the Lions, who were playing their fifth game in 10 days. Pitt, unbeaten this season, is 106-3 all-time at the Petersen Events Center against non-conference opponents.
“Be Your Best”: Former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband, retired U.S. Navy captain Mark Kelly, delivered an inspirational message last night at Penn State’s Eisenhower Auditorium. Kelly spoke about his career with NASA and lessons learned after tragedy. Giffords, who was the victim of that devastating shooting in Tucson in early 2011, didn’t appear until the end of the talk, when her words brought the crowd to its feet. “I’m still fighting to make the world a better place, and you can too,” Giffords said. “Be bold, be courageous, be your best.”
Journalism legend: Another big name is coming to campus: Bob Woodward, the famed journalist who reported the Watergate scandal, will speak on Feb. 27 at Eisenhower Auditorum. Woodward, who’s nabbed two Pulitzer Prizes and countless journalism awards, is currently the executive editor for The Washington Post. Do yourself a favor and prep for the event by watching All the President’s Men, which seems to be on TV all the time — yet never gets old.
More Morrell: In our July/August 2013 issue, we featured a profile of bestselling author David Morrell ’67g, ’70 PhD, just before the release of his latest thriller, Murder as a Fine Art. In the piece, he talked about how his personal life inspires his work. He goes into more detail in this Q&A with author Mark Rubinstein for The Huffington Post. “My books are very personal,” Morrell says. “Someone once said that if you read them in chronological order, you would have what amounts to an autobiography of my soul.”
Tomatill-old: Well, this is weird: A team of geologists, including Penn State geosciences prof Peter Wilf, discovered a fossilized tomatillo in Argentina. The 52.2 million year old tomatillo is a pretty big deal — it’s the oldest fruit from the tomato family ever found in South America, and it changes the way scientists view the tomato’s evolution. Read more here, and then celebrate with some salsa.
Mary Murphy, associate editor
As challenges go, this isn’t a bad one to have. As Mike Zeman met with Penn State researchers in the sciences, technology, engineering, and math to help the prepare for the short talks they are giving Friday at Discovery-U, he had to impress upon them how important the time frame is—only 15 to 18 minutes.
That’s not easy for these researchers to hit. “They’re so passionate about what they do,” Zeman ’98, ’01g says. (You might remember Zeman from our Jan./Feb. 2013 issue — he was featured in the “Everyday People” section.)
That passion should be evident Friday at Discovery-U, a day-long event at the HUB Auditorium in which Penn State faculty and researchers—and two students—will explain and tell stories about their research. The event has TED Talk overtones—the lectures are 15 to 18 minutes long, and the researchers are being encouraged to abide by the “TED commandments,” among them “Thou shalt tell a story” and “Thou shalt not read thy speech.”
Says Zeman, who’s also the director of Science-U summer science camps: “The real bottom line is expressing why this stuff is important in the future. What are the greater, bigger picture questions that are still out there?”
The lineup—suggested by students—is terrific. It starts with Tom Mallouk, Evan Pugh professor of chemistry, talking about micro-robots and ends with Richard Alley, Evan Pugh professor of geology, who shared a Nobel Prize in science for his research on climate change, discussing “environmental science for people.”
Click here to view a PDF of the entire schedule.
This is the second such event; the first, suggested last year by the Graduate Women in Science organization, was targeted more toward “getting the Penn State name out there in a good way,” Zeman says. This year’s is also geared toward engaging students who might have an interest in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) and helping upperclassmen to consider research proposals. And still, Zeman says, getting the word out about Penn State faculty and research. The sponsors show the broad reach: Dow, the Eberly College of Science Alumni Council, and the Graduate Student Association.
They’re serious about reaching out broadly.
There are three sessions Friday in the HUB Auditorium—the first from 10:05 to 11:34, the second from 11:45 to 1:23, the third from 2 to 3:41 p.m. Each has five speakers. (Ideally, the organizers would like to have people stay for a full session, but they understand that classes and other commitments may interfere, so you’re welcome for any portion.) Plus, you can watch online at www.discoveryu.psu.edu, although the website isn’t active yet. (They’re hoping some alumni tune in, as well.) And within several days of the event, they’ll post the lectures to YouTube, making them available to anyone.
They would like you to RSVP, if possible: click here to do so.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
If you thought you saw Rodney Erickson driving around campus Monday morning but chalked it up to not having enough coffee, your eyes didn’t fool you.
Members of the Penn State EcoCAR 2 team picked up President Erickson at Old Main in their hybrid electric car and allowed him to get behind the wheel. He drove to the Penn State Advanced Vehicle garage located across from Lot 83 on Hastings Road for an informational visit about the EcoCAR project.
Erickson, along with State College mayor Elizabeth Goreham, spoke at the event Monday morning, applauding the team for working toward sustainability and emphasizing the networking opportunity that the team now has with General Motors.
The EcoCAR team tests and refines a GM hybrid car in preparation for an annual competition in May, against 14 other schools across North America.
According to the Penn State Advanced Vehicle Team website, the competition takes place over three years from 2011 to 2014. Each year the vehicles are judged on different aspects of the vehicle, including modeling, simulation, and integration of components into the vehicle.
For engineering students, being on the EcoCAR team is an opportunity not only to receive academic credit, but also to hopefully secure a job come graduation.
Tim Wilson (senior, mechanical engineering) decided to join the EcoCAR team because it was a class that allowed real, hands-on experience. “It’s nice to be able to come out to the garage and work instead of just being in a classroom,” he said. Tyler Quinn (senior, mechanical engineering), voiced the same sentiment, adding that he always wanted to get involved with vehicles and wants to “help the future” by working toward sustainability in the automotive world.
Between 50 and 70 people are involved with the EcoCAR, which includes team leader Chris Golecki, a mechanical-vehicle team, a mechanical engine team, electrical team, controls team, communications team, business team, and faculty advisers.
The project is sponsored by both GM and the Department of Energy.
Maggie McGlinchy, intern
I’ll be the first to admit that my photos from the Arboretum’s Pumpkin Fest don’t hold a candle (pun intended) to Tina’s photos from years past. And yeah, I realize that un-lighted jack-o-lanterns, photographed on an especially sunny morning, aren’t all that impressive. But here’s my excuse: The third annual pumpkin-carving contest is still accepting submissions, and I figured our artistic (and knife-dextrous) readers would appreciate the chance to join in. You can enter a carved pumpkin at the Arboretum by 4 p.m. Friday (you’ll see a registration table at the Overlook Pavilion); there’s more details here.
And not to deter anyone from entering, but from what I’ve seen already, the competition looks pretty stiff. There were a handful of creative Penn State-themed pumpkins, an alien pumpkin, a turtle, and even a pumpkin minion (those cute little yellow guys from Despicable Me). I can’t wait to see how awesome these creations look in the dark.
To see for yourself, head to the Arboretum this weekend: Lighted jack-o-lanterns will be on display Friday from 6 to 9 p.m., and on Saturday, music, crafts, refreshments, and other fall festivities begin at 4 p.m., with the jack-o-lanterns on display from 6 to 9 p.m.
Mary Murphy, associate editor
We are … incredibly diverse: Check out the photos from students in John Beale’s advanced photojournalism class, who captured international students posing with their countries’ flags—and sometimes wearing traditional dress—at the Nittany Lion Shrine. It’s tough to pick a favorite, but Dan Griswold’s image of Vusal Hasanov, an undergraduate from Azerbaijan (above) is awfully striking.
So, where were you? The athletics department commissioned these excellent high-resolution, 360-degree panoramas of both the Michigan game and the opener at the Pegula Ice Arena. Click here for the football game; click here for hockey. Check them out, and tag yourself, too.
A fresh start: It should be an interesting season for the women’s basketball team with an influx of freshmen and an awesome home schedule featuring UConn and Notre Dame. One constant: senior guard Maggie Lucas. Asked Tuesday at preseason media day if opponents might gang up on Lucas because there will be so many young players in the lineup, coach Coquese Washington responded: “Well, people have been trying to take Maggie since she walked through the door, so that won’t be a change for us.” For media day highlights, check out this page from sports information which has everything from a transcript of Washington’s news conference to photos of media members—including the legendary Mel Greenberg—interviewing players. Lots of video, too.
Embarrassment of riches: There was way too much going on between 7 and 8 p.m. Tuesday night. LZ Granderson, an openly gay sports journalist, discussed the importance of straight allies in the LGBT movement (and was introduced by Bill O’Brien). Crisis communicator and author Steven Fink ’71 delivered a lecture called “What to do (and not to do) when things go wrong,” and of course a chunk of his talk was devoted to Penn State’s handling of the Sandusky scandal. You can get details by clicking here to see how my journalism class tweeted the highlights of his speech. And punk rock icon Patti Smith received the Medal for Distinguished Achievement from the Institute for Arts and Humanities—and was apparently even more awesome in a women’s studies class earlier Tuesday.
And, on a less serious note: You might think you know everything about John Urschel. Terrific offensive lineman. Math genius. Etc. And then BTN’s The Journey did this hard-hitting interview in which Urschel—and his mom—discuss how he was potty trained. Or, rather, how Urschel outsmarted, so to speak, his mom’s efforts to get him potty trained. It involves Barney diapers. You’ll get a laugh, probably. But honestly, my favorite part of the interview: Urschel’s baby pictures.
Lori Shontz, senior editor