Posts filed under ‘Campus events’
Monday Night Live: Kenan Thompson brought big laughs to Eisenhower Auditorium last night as part of the Student Programming Association’s Comedy Month. Thompson, who’s been a cast member on Saturday Night Live for a whopping 11 seasons, performed stand-up and answered audience members’ questions about SNL. Check out the Collegian’s coverage here (warning: some of Thompson’s material borders on NSFW). My favorite snippet: When asked which celebrity made the worst guest host, Thompson demurred—but admitted that her name just happens to rhyme with “Baris Milton.”
Coming soon: Here’s some cool news about a program coming to University Park in July: The “Summer Academy for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired” is a three-week program that helps visually impaired students transition to a life in a college setting, with networking workshops and career-planning help. The academy is spearheaded by Penn State and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry; Penn State students in the College of Education will work as chaperones. Read more here.
Phoenix rising: Maggie Lucas is headed west: The Lady Lion senior guard was selected by the Phoenix Mercury with the 21st overall pick in the WNBA draft last night. The Phoenix Mercury last won the WNBA championship in 2009; this year, the team finished third in the West conference. Lucas, who’s coming off her own record-breaking season, shared her reaction on Twitter (below):
Mary Murphy, associate editor
He’s got CLASS: Tim Frazier ’13 was named a First Team Senior CLASS Award finalist yesterday. The award, which stands for “Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School,” honors seniors who excel on the court and in the classroom. Finalists are selected by Division 1 coaches nationwide.
Spreading the love: Got spirit? That’s what it’s all about next week, during Blue & White Society’s PSi(heart)U week, a seven-day celebration of Penn State pride. Themed events throughout campus will get alumni and students psyched up for Blue-White Weekend. Check out the full schedule of events here.
Young at heart: Speaking of spirit, have you read yesterday’s post about 102-year-old birthday girl Peg Barnard Chalfant ’34? She’s the second-oldest Penn State alumna in the world, a former May Queen, and a current Kindle lover. I think Peg’s memories from her college days—and her thoughts on growing older—will definitely make you smile.
Mary Murphy, associate editor
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