Posts filed under ‘Campus events’
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
It’s a Homecoming tradition: Staking out the best spots from which to view the parade. We sent one of our interns out to get the stories behind the placesitters.
Name: Sarah Seiler, freshman from Phi Mu.
Shift: 10 a.m. to noon (and she’ll be back at 5 for the parade).
Location: West College, in front of Sovereign Bank.
Passing the time: “I Spy,” eating, and studying, as long as it stops raining so her books don’t get wet.
Float theme: “Up.”
Name: Jimmy Ryan, sophomore from a business fraternity.
Shift: 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Location: West College, in front of Café 210 West.
Passing the time: Talking, bonding.
Float theme: Shark Week.
Name: Tina Lu, freshman, Phi Beta Lambda
Shift: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Location: West College, in front of Qdoba Mexican Grill.
Passing the time: Trying to stay dry, talking, embracing the weather.
Float theme: The Great Gatsby.
Sarah Olah, intern
Chicken wire, wood, and tissue paper.
Sounds like a strange combination, right? Not during Homecoming week.
Those three items—along with some glue, nails, and hard work—create a float for the Homecoming parade, which will wind from Beaver Stadium to College Avenue in about 2.5 hours starting at 6 Friday evening. It’s all in the art of “pomping.”
Here’s what you need:
Pomping guidelines are very specific and can be found on the Homecoming website in the Homecoming Rulebook. According to the website, pomps are 5 1/2” x 5 1/2” sheets of colored tissue paper and must be ordered through Penn State Homecoming. Organizations purchase a variety of colors based on what your theme is. Veterans to Homecoming know to order more than what you need because you can only order through Penn State Homecoming—if you run out, you can’t just make a trip to Walmart.
Nittany Co-Op supplies the pomps, which cost $2.05 per pack. Homecoming suggests ordering pomps in 12s or 24s because the pomps are prepackaged this way. You may need as many as 30 boxes of pomps to cover the entire float.
The float cannot exceed 8 feet wide x 20 feet long x 15 feet high. The float has guidelines in the Homecoming Rulebook, as well. At check-in, each float must have safety chains, quick links, a triangle reflector, and a 10 pound fire extinguisher. The rulebook also suggests that someone guards your float at all times.
3. Chicken wire
Chicken wire hangs all around the constructed float to structure it. The wire is also ordered through Penn State Homecoming, where a 50-foot roll costs $16.90. One piece of tissue paper goes through each hole in the wire. Before pushing the paper through, you paint the wire with glue—$11 per gallon—to ensure the pomp sticks.
You can imagine, the cost to build a float is quite expensive.
“Generations Evolve, Tradition Remains” is Homecoming’s overall theme, and each organization interprets that in its own way, pending Homecoming’s approval.
Building the actual float is the real task. It generally takes a few hours to construct the structure of the float. It’s simply wood and nails, but easier said than done. The chicken wire hangs around it, giving it a shape. Then using tape, sketch the design you want. The tape separates what color pomps will go through the chicken wire, which is pomping—filling chicken wire with rolled-up tissue paper.
Pomping is not difficult, nor does it take skill. It’s actually rather mind-numbing. Deciding on a theme, building and placing colors take some creativity, but anyone can pomp. Trust me, if I can do it, you can do it.
Pomping does, however, require a lot of time, dedication, and people to complete. With my co-ed fraternity, which has about 50 members, we are required to pomp for a minimum of five hours each. It takes a lot of man-power to get through the week successfully.
But you can take a boring situation and make it fun with music and friends, and seeing your final product is a good feeling.
Organizations with floats are allowed five people on a float with two people walking in front of the float with a banner. I, personally, will not be in the Homecoming Parade, but I will be there watching. I will comfortably find my spot on Shortlidge with the brothers from my co-ed fraternity. I’m not supposed to say what my fraternity’s theme is, but let’s just say our float is “electrifying.”
Sarah Olah, intern
From news to features, your daily dose of everything Penn State.
World class: Another ranking has given Penn Staters something to crow about. This time, it’s the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, which lists Penn State 49th out of 400 institutions from around the globe. We’re one of eight Big Ten schools ranked in the top 100. You can find the complete list and details on the methodology here.
A distinguished duo: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, are coming to University Park on Nov. 4 as part of the Student Programming Association’s Distinguished Speaker Series.
Careful while canning: It’s a story that comes up every year around this time: Students who travel for canning weekends (more…)
From news to features, your daily dose of everything Penn State.
It’s a Dirty Jog, But Somebody’s Got to Do It: About 10,000 runners burned calories and got coated with pastels Sunday at Penn State’s first Color Run, sponsored by the Homecoming Committee. As an occasional jogger, I’m not sure I understand why you’d want people to douse you with powdered paint while you’re out for a run. But I was downtown Sunday evening and saw hundreds of happy participants post-race, so I guess it must be a good time.