Posts filed under ‘University Park campus’
Leave it to NPR business and financial reporter Jim Zarroli to sum up why so many alumni of The Daily Collegian got together last weekend to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Penn State’s independent student newspaper.
Zarroli ’79, the keynote speaker at Saturday night’s banquet, told the story of his years at Penn State, when he arrived as an uncertain freshman who wasn’t sure where he belonged … until he found himself on the Collegian staff. There, he began growing into the professional he is today because, he explained, “We weren’t just learning journalism. We were doing it.”
But he got something else from the hours and hours he spent reporting and writing and just hanging out in the Collegian office. Said Zarroli, “It really became my home.”
I knew the feeling—both of them, really. (I appeared in a house ad for the Collegian in the mid-1990s, and the copy read something like, “Everything I needed to know about journalism, I learned at The Daily Collegian.” Still true.) And I know each of the other nearly 200 alums who were listening to Zarroli could identify, too.
There’s an immediate kinship among various generations of staffers. It doesn’t matter whether you laid out the paper with the latest version of Quark or wielded a photo wheel and an Exacto knife. Or whether your first assignment was to ask people sitting on The Wall along College Avenue where they bought their pot (true story, related Friday night by a 1970s alum) or, as was true for some students last year, you jumped right into covering the biggest news story in Penn State’s history.
I’m sure there’s a similar feeling among students and alums devoted to other activities. (One of my best friends, Laura Eckert Thompson ’92, made that point in this column geared toward incoming freshmen in a 1991 Collegian magazine.) But one of the things I loved about the Collegian is that although our group was tightly connected, we were never insular. We had to know and understand the other student groups, the other students’ concerns. We felt a true responsibility to the rest of the student body—we were their newspaper.
Which is part of what got last year’s staff through the late nights and long days covering the Sandusky scandal and Joe Paterno’s death.
At a panel Saturday morning featuring 2011-2012 staffers, Anna Orso, now managing editor, then the cops reporter (and a student in my news writing class), explained that the staff believed their role was “to tell the narrative of the student body.” Current editor/last year’s managing editor Casey McDermott told of how they explained the legal terms in the first print paper, realizing that most students wouldn’t know them. (At the time, I commented on what a great idea that was.) Last year’s editor, Lexi Belculfine ’12, said the opinion page was a place “to urge our peers to think critically.”
The news staff showed their story budgets and other planning documents (click here if you’re a news nerd and want a look), told how the opinion editor, Jordan Cole ’12, became a de-facto psychologist for the upset alumni and students who wrote or even called, just wanting to talk to someone, and related how they blew off the national editors who called wanting story tips and tried to sweeten the deal by saying they’d be sure to remember the Collegian kids the next time they had a job opening.
Of course the students would have none of that. No Collegianaire, from any era, would have. What an insult. I’m insulted again, just writing that.
Staffers from the business side spoke, too, explaining how they kept advertising as constant as possible during the scandal and sold thousands of commemorative newspapers. (As Amy Zurzola Quinn ’94 tweeted, “If these students could keep biz afloat, keep advertisers during scandal, just THINK what they’ll do when you hire them.”)
Last weekend reminded me what a great tradition I’m part of. The entire staff of the 2011-12 staff was inducted into the Collegian Hall of Fame. They were joined by Larry Foster ’48, a former managing editor; Jane Murphy Schultz ’43, the first female editor-in-chief, who died in 2010; and the wife-and-husband team of Roberta Hutchinson ’48 and Allan Ostar ’48, who were the other stars of the weekend.
The Ostars donated the first scholarship earmarked solely for Collegian staffers, and it’s easy to see why they feel so connected. They met there. When they stood to be recognized, Allan said, “They say some marriages are made in heaven. This marriage was made at The Daily Collegian.”
Wild cheers and applause, of course. Possibly a few tears, as well.
I’m going to give the last word to Lou Bell ’29, a former Collegian editor who wrote an amazing final column, what the students now would call a “senior send-off.” General manager Patti Hartranft quotes it a lot, and no wonder:
Whether it be by the decree of Fate or Circumstance or Death, there must come an end to every joy. There must come a time when the standard-bearer must release his fingers from the banner that he had so ardently striven to hold aloft, when he must pass the banner to other hands, reluctant to give it up but confident that strong and willing hands will keep it afloat and speed it forward until still other hands clutch it. That runs the eternal cycle.
We are proud that the banner still floats, that it goes ever forward. Plainly speaking, we are confident that the new editorial and business staffs of the Penn State Collegian are competent and willing enough to carry on—and on—and on. To our successors, congratulations, good fortune, good heart.
And, above all—good heart.
That, as far as I’m concerned, says everything.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
Anyone paying even partial attention to the events over the past year at Penn State must know a little about the Clery Act. That’s the law that governs how universities report crime statistics, and in the wake of the Sandusky scandal, Penn State is being investigated for not complying fully with the act.
Penn State is beefing up its compliance (it hired a Clery Act compliance director, Gabriel Gates, in March), and as part of that, earlier this month I attended a mandatory training.
I’m the faculty adviser for a student group called Paws of Friendship, which raises money to buy toys for children in orphanages and does other community service projects. That makes me a Campus Security Authority, and therefore mandated by law to report information about a crime that I hear about in my role as a faculty adviser. (More on that in a minute.)
It was an interesting session, and I learned a little more about the law and what, exactly, it requires.
For instance, faculty members aren’t Campus Security Authorities. Neither are academic counselors or most staff members. The group does include faculty advisers to student groups, coaches, residential life staffers (including RAs), university police, and other security personnel hired by Penn State.
The law covers all public and private universities that get federal aid (which is just about all of them) and requires them to do these things: (more…)
A documentary screening doesn’t sound like the first thing a college student would do at 10 p.m. on a Friday. So when I saw a plethora of THON student volunteers pour into the State Theatre on Friday night––many sporting dresses, high heels, ties, and slacks, no less––you could say I was surprised.
But the featured documentary,Why We Dance: The Story of THON, helps to explain what 15,000 Penn State students devote themselves to every year––the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, Penn State’s Interfraternity / Panhellenic Dance Marathon (otherwise known as THON). That’s a reason to dress up.
Why We Dance chronicles the year-round efforts put toward Four Diamonds families and the 46-hour dance marathon, which, since 1977, has raised about $88 million dollars for pediatric cancer.
THON is a culture of its own. If you walk down College Avenue and see dozens of people sporting Penn State shirts and sweatpants, you’ll see that many people wearing THON gear, too. I recently noticed that almost 200 of my Facebook friends posted the THON 2013 promo video, especially when THON “captains” were selected. The energy of these students involved is palpable; Kevin O’Connor, a Rules and Regulations captain sitting next to me in the State Theatre on Friday night, agreed with a laugh that THON volunteers are “a different breed” of people––it’s like they’re perpetually over-caffeinated and just excited about life.
Right before the film began, I heard a student volunteer blurt out that (more…)
Two years ago a Penn State grad student, Emily Thomas ’07a, ’09, started offering informal sessions to give fellow students some experience in bird banding—a process in which you set up nets to capture birds in the wild, then record data about each one, fit it with a leg band, and release the bird again. Students in the wildlife and fisheries science major, especially, benefit from having that kind of experience on their résumé. Emily had a banding “sub-permit” (sort of a junior license), so she was able to provide that experience to them.
The banding sessions have continued every spring and fall—that’s migration season, and thus the best time to capture a variety of species that are moving through the area—and they’re now under the direction of local volunteer Nick Kerlin ’71, who is an experienced naturalist and has an actual bird-banding license.
I went to one of Nick’s sessions yesterday and, over the course of four hours, got to see a lot: two downy woodpeckers, a chickadee, several song sparrows, a least flycatcher, a Swainson’s thrush (that’s the bird at the top of the page), a phoebe, a black-throated green warbler, some catbirds, a brown thrasher, a couple of house finches, and more goldfinches than I could count.
Here’s a quick overview of how the process works. Nick and the students string up something called “mist nets,” which look a bit like badminton nets, at various locations at the edge of the woods or actually in the woods, and wait for unsuspecting birds to fly into them and get tangled up. Every 30 minutes they do a “net check” and carefully untangle any birds they find. At right is a student removing an upside-down house finch from one of the nets.
Then they put the bird into a little cloth bag and bring it back to the “banding station” (basically a card table under a canopy) to be processed. They measure it, weigh it, figure out how old it is and whether it’s a boy or a girl. They fit it with a tiny metal leg band that’s numbered, so that if the bird is captured in some other banding operation elsewhere in the country, they’ll (more…)
How exactly do you pronounce Yossarian?
This was my big concern Thursday night, in the moments before I stepped to the lectern to read five minutes’ worth of Catch-22. I was one of hundreds of people taking my turn in a marathon public reading of the classic novel, which Joseph Heller started writing while he taught at Penn State in the early 1950s. The event kicked off at 1 p.m. Thursday—Sue Paterno ’62 opened the reading—and was scheduled to end sometime Friday afternoon.
I initially walked up to the reading—held under a tent on the grass in front of the Pattee and Paterno Libraries—on Thursday afternoon, hoping to get a photo of Lady Lion basketball coach Coquese Washington, one of many coaches and athletes who were signed up to take part. I missed Coquese, but when I saw how many open spots remained on the sign-up sheet, I decided I’d put my name in. (Catch-22 has long been one of my favorite novels, I have plenty of practice reading aloud every night to my kids, and everyone who read got a T-shirt.)
I signed up for two spots, the first at 10:05 Thursday night. There were maybe 20 people there, including three students in pajamas who had sleeping bags already set up on the grass. I checked in with Cindy Lee, a sophomore who serves as treasurer of Unabridged, the student organization for English majors. I waited a few minutes and took my turn, reading through the section of chapter 22 in which Milo Minderbinder explains “the syndicate” to Yossarian. I forgot how much fun this book is.
I was back Friday morning at 7. There were about a dozen people there, including a woman reading with her dog standing attentively behind her, and a couple of students (not the ones from the night before, as far as I could tell) still dozing in sleeping bags. There, too, was Cindy, who hadn’t left since 6 p.m. Thursday. In addition to manning the sign-in desk, she said she handled about “an hour and a half, maybe two hours” of reading during the sparsely attended overnight shift, when the audience dwindled to as few as four.
I read the last couple pages of chapter 28, and was followed by English professor Debra Hawhee ’00g, who read with her 2 1/2-year-old daughter Nora in her arms. The reading continued as I headed home to get ready for work. There’s talk of this being an annual thing. I hope so.
Oh, and it’s yo-SAIR-ian, not yo-SORRY-an. Either way, a classic.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
I had a friend in town a couple of weekends ago—Tina Owen, who is editor of the alumni magazine at the University of Iowa. She had never visited this area before, so I had a good time taking her to some of the key spots: the Lion Shrine, the Victorian homes in Bellefonte, Faccia Luna…. (I realize Faccia Luna isn’t on anyone’s official tour of Centre County, but as far as I’m concerned it’s not to be missed.)
Tina is a Master Gardener back in Iowa, so she and I also spent some time at the Arboretum at Penn State. And wow, is it looking gorgeous these days. It’s really amazing to me how far it has come in the two years since the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens were dedicated—there are trees and shrubs and ornamental grasses and a huge area of seasonal plants, not to mention a lotus pool. The Arboretum is rapidly becoming a must-see attraction for visitors, and in fact we saw lots of other people strolling the gardens while we were there.
In the end, Tina pronounced the Arboretum “super stunning.”
In addition to the water lily at the top of the page, here are a few photos I took that afternoon. (Click on any of them to see it larger.) First, here’s a plant called Bear’s Breeches, a type of Acanthus:
Here’s an iris of some sort. Tina could probably tell you the exact genus and species.
Next is, we think, a coneflower (Echinacea) that hasn’t yet bloomed:
And here is a zinnia in full bloom—it’s just a green zinnia, I guess?
This reminds me that if you plan to visit the Arboretum, stop up at the visitors’ pavilion first and pick up one of their leaflets that offers a guide to the stuff you’ll be seeing. Some of the plantings have markers with their exact genus and species, but the seasonal plants have markers with only numbers on them—and it helps to have the leaflet handy so that you’ll know that No. 23, say, is a “Zinnia Green Envy” or whatever. Tina and I did it in the reverse order: We strolled the gardens first, then picked up the plant listing. Oh well.
Here’s a cone from a tree called a limber pine:
And here is a water lily that hadn’t yet bloomed:
Watch for a photo essay on the Arboretum in our next issue, if all goes well—with photos taken not by me but one or more professionals whom our art director will hire. We just think the Arboretum has quickly become one of Penn State’s real jewels.
Tina Hay, editor
While we all wait for the verdict from the Jerry Sandusky trial, I thought I’d share something more pleasant with you—a photo taken by Laurie Creasy ’77 of Penn State Public Information over at the Arboretum.
It’s a lotus, and according to Patrick Williams ’93, the development director responsible for the Arboretum, it’s similar to the lotus we featured on our cover a few years back. Both are the work of George Griffith ’56, who has donated many of his beautiful lotuses and other water lilies to the Arboretum.
According to Patrick, the one on our magazine cover was the Manchurian lotus. This latest photo, by contrast, is of “a miniature lotus called South Beach. George gave it to us in April. We re-planted a division of the Manchurian lotus in the lotus pool late last month. Hoping to see it bloom later this summer or early fall.”
I had a chance to stroll the Arboretum last weekend with a friend who was visiting the area, and I was really taken by how beautiful it is. I hope to blog about that and share some photos next week.
Tina Hay, editor
Where’s the only place at Penn State you can study for finals and snag free refills of sweet iced tea?
McDonald’s—an unlikely study spot, for sure. On the Sunday afternoon before spring finals week, I took a quick walking tour of campus to check out where students were studying. Some of the locations are obvious—all rooms in the library were packed, as was the HUB—but others might surprise you.
My favorite was the three students, studying for a biology exam, who picked the basement of Mickie D’s (which has free WiFi, by the way). They said they actually go there a lot.
Two students, who said they walked around the library and it was simply too packed, ended up in an empty room on the first floor of Willard. Panera and Irvings were also popular, as students filled up on coffee and carbs. It was a nice day—probably the first one all week—so I found a few students laying out picnic blankets outside Old Main. What surprised me the most was that Alumni Hall, on the bottom floor of the HUB-Robeson Center, was wide open with rows of long tables and chairs for students to stop by and study at as they please.
Check out the slideshow below, and comment: Where was your favorite place to study at Penn State?
-Emily Kaplan, intern
On Sunday, I stopped in an open house in our State College neighborhood, curious what I’d find. Most of the houses in our area, about a mile south of campus, were built in the 1950s. This one is being sold by the adult children of the late owners, who, it was immediately clear, had taken great care of their home.
I was admiring how well-kept the house was when I noticed something out of place: What looked to be a door where there wasn’t, in fact, a doorway. I asked the realtor about it, and she explained: It was the original decorative door from Otto’s, the on-campus cafe (not to be confused with the State College brew-pub) inside the Kern Building. Turns out the original owners of the house were Otto and Charlotte Mueller, and that Otto was Penn State’s first assistant vice president for Housing and Food Services from 1953 until his retirement in 1978 (he died in 2007, and Charlotte passed in 2010). The door, which I’m kicking myself for not having taken a picture of, appeared to be hand-painted, including a portrait of a smiling Mr. Mueller and the cafe’s daily hours.
From the basement workroom to what appeared to be the original cabinetry, it was obvious that Otto Mueller took good care of the place. I’m guessing that, under his watch, Housing and Food Services was similarly well maintained.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
Students filing out of class early Wednesday afternoon were surprised by what they saw when they passed Old Main: An arc of rainbow balloons spreading across the steps. And a colorful celebration.
Pride Week, an annual event that promotes acceptance and support for the university’s LGBTQA community, is in full swing at Penn State. The week includes a plethora of events, from a intensive three-day workshop focusing on identity to a concert at Chumley’s benefitting the AIDS Project of State College to a drag show on Friday night at the HUB. At Wednesday’s rally, which lasted about an hour, a handful of spectators donned red t-shirts that read, “40 years and still queer, 40 years and still here.” The logo is Pride Week’s theme this year, celebrating the history and strides of LGBTQA organizations at Penn State.
Several speakers—from active leaders in Penn State’s LGBTQA community to the president of the State College High Gay Straight Alliance—stepped up to the makeshift stage in the middle of campus. They told stories of friends who came out, discussed what the LGBTQA community meant to them, and shared personal experiences. Perhaps the loudest applause came when the vice president of the Penn State chapter of Delta Lamdba Phi, a national fraternity for gay, bisexual and progressive men, pointed to his father in the crowd. ”He was the person I was most terrified to come out to,” he said. “And now he’s my biggest supporter.”
As the crowd of about 75 people erupted in applause, two female students sporting backpacks strolled by. ”Wow,” one student said to her friend. “That’s really cool he could share that in front of all these people in the middle of campus. Really cool.”
Emily Kaplan, intern