Posts tagged ‘Old Main’
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
It was a unique day at Penn State, indeed.
Wednesday was the annual Old Main Open House, a day to celebrate Penn State’s history. The event — which also featured free food, arts and crafts and guided tours of Old Main — was hosted by the Lion Ambassadors. When I stopped by at 3 p.m., there were about 75 visitors mulling around the area, taking in the partly sunny April afternoon.
As visitors waited for their guided tours — highlighted by a trip up to the Bell Tower for a scenic view of campus and downtown — they munched on free popcorn and frozen ices.
At 4, President Rodney Erickson opened his doors for a one-hour office hour session. Students could stop by to talk about anything — or just get to know the president.
Visitors also participated in tug-of-war, cider scrap, and push ball scrap — better known as scrap games. It’s OK if you don’t know what scrap game are. I needed a brush up on the term, as well. Between 1885-1916, freshmen and sophomores would duke it out for bragging rights in a series of competitive games. Among the visitors who seemed to enjoy the revival of the competitions was the Nittany Lion, who apparently participated in a few games of tug-of-war before I arrived.
This year’s Open House featured some new surprises — notably Boomer, the soon-to-be 6-year-old mini mule who hung out by the HUB and was impersonating Old Coaly, Penn State’s first mascot. She and her handler made the 3-hour, 45-minute drive from Butler County the morning of the event.
After I said hello to “Old Coaly,” a tour group walked by. What appeared to be the younger sibling of a prospective student turned to his father and asked, “Do they always have a mule hanging around here?”
Emily Kaplan, intern
The snap consensus on Friday night’s candlelight vigil was 10,000. I can’t say for sure how many people squeezed onto the front steps of Old Main and filled much of the lawn; I could get no closer than the back of the crowd, which at that point stood about 20 feet behind the twin flag polls in the center of the lawn. It was packed.
Certainly, I could hear them singing the Alma Mater. I was too far back to hear much from the speakers, including LaVar Arrington ’00, but it was clear that the focus was on unity, healing, and a commitment to ensuring the University emerges a better, safer place. “This is a call to duty,” Arrington said.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
I heard on the radio this morning the ridiculous news that fall starts tonight at 11:09 p.m. First of all, since when does fall start at such a seemingly random hour? Am I the last person in the world to know about this? And secondly, can we all agree that summer was so short as to be practically nonexistent?
Anyway, here at University Park we’re starting to see the first hints of the leaves turning, and it reminded me of some campus photos I took last October that I never quite got around to posting. I thought today would be as good a day as any to post them.
The way the photos came about was this: Last fall I wrote about having toured the new Joel N. Myers Weather Center in Walker Building, and that in turn got me interested in seeing the weather equipment up on the building’s roof (which was not, alas, part of the tour). So I contacted Jon Nese ’83, ’85, ’89g of the meteorology faculty and asked him if he could show me the roof sometime.
A week or so later, we went up there, and Jon explained to me the rain gauges and various other pieces of equipment—all of which were cool, but not quite as cool as the view from the roof. In the short slide show below you’ll see the shots I took of Mount Nittany, Deike Building, Old Main, the IST Building, and the now-defunct Phi Delta Theta fraternity house. Plus a few shots of Jon and the weather equipment. Enjoy.
(Click on any photo if you want to stop the slide show and advance the images manually.)
Tina Hay, editor
When we were trying to pick a cover for our July-August issue, we sort of knew that it should have something to do with our aerial photo essay of University Park. But the question was, Which of those aerial shots should we use? Our art director, Carole Otypka, selected a handful of them and mocked each one up as a potential cover, then invited us to take a look at them on her computer screen.
As you can see, we ended up choosing one taken by Andy Colwell as the helicopter was perched practically on top of Old Main. We liked how striking the angle is, we liked that there was room to drop in some copy, and we thought Old Main would be more iconic than, say, a shot of the golf courses.
It wasn’t until we looked at (more…)
This past weekend was Parents & Families Weekend—an event sponsored by the Alumni Association and the Division of Student Affairs—and among the approximately 2,793 events available was an open house at the Joel N. Myers Weather Center, on the sixth floor of Walker Building.
The weather center was just renovated this past year. Last month Penn State announced that Joel Myers ’61, ’63g, ’71g, founder of AccuWeather, has pledged a $2 million gift to support the center, which has been renamed in his honor.
It’s a pretty impressive operation, starting with the bank of monitors you see as soon as you walk in the door. (See photos above and at left.) They offer views of just about every piece of weather data you could possibly need: NASA satellite images of Earth, U.S. surface temperatures, sunspot activity, you name it. Plus Webcam views of everywhere from Erie to Burlington to Paris.
Two students, Matt Rydzik and Greg Ferro, led the tour. We learned that the Campus Weather Service is the largest student-run weather forecasting operation in the country. We also learned that the students spend enormous amounts of time, well into the wee hours, working at the weather center. Apparently the running joke is that if you don’t like your roommate, it’s OK—you can just live at the weather center.
We saw a computer lab, which still has a chalkboard with State College’s climatology data going back to 1887. The student giving the tour said that during the renovations last spring, they deliberately kept the chalkboard as a holdover from the old weather center. It’s kind of charming, albeit a little hard to read, as you can see. (You can click on any of these photos to see them bigger.) The student mentioned that the Pennsylvania state climatologist is a Penn State faculty member: Paul Knight ’75, ’77g.
The other fun room we visited was the TV studio, on the fifth floor of the same building, where we found another student, Drew Anderson. One of the parents on the tour recognized Drew immediately: “Aren’t you the guy who did the weather on Game Day last weekend?” (He is.)
The studio is where the TV show Weather World originates; it’s also used for classes and for students to do occasional forecasts on ESPN-U. Drew showed us the TV equipment—the green screen and all that—and also talked about some of the art involved in being on TV, like taking a step toward the camera when there’s a point he wants to emphasize.
About the only thing we didn’t get to see was the roof of Walker Building, which is home to a lot of weather instruments, and which supposedly offers a very nice view of campus. One of the student guides told me that there are just too many important research instruments up there to allow a lot of tours to tromp through. Which is understandable. But clearly I need to go back over sometime and talk one of the faculty into taking me up there. I’ll report back when I do.
I’ll close with just one more photo for you; actually it’s a strip of three photos of some of the monitors in the Joel Myers Weather Center. I have absolutely no idea what’s going on in any of these images, but they sure are pretty to look at.
Tina Hay, editor
P.S. Among the other events of Parents & Families Weekend was an open house at the president’s office in Old Main, along with a trip to the Old Main bell tower. You can see photos from that at live.psu.edu.
Friday is National POW-MIA Recognition Day, and the Penn State community is set to mark the day with a 24-hour vigil in front of Old Main. The vigil—featuring a guard from Penn State’s Tri-Service Reserve Officer Training Corps, which will maintain a post on the Old Main steps until Saturday afternoon—is scheduled to start Friday at 5 p.m. and will feature guest speaker and retired Air Force Colonel Frank R. Vicente ’64, ’73 MEd. The ceremony is set to conclude with a 21-gun salute.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
It was foggy here this morning (still is, actually), and as I drove down College Avenue, I wondered how Old Main would look in fog and whether it would be worth a photo. I looked to the right as I passed, and—well, it was so foggy you couldn’t even see Old Main. So much for that idea.
But the elms along the Allen Street Mall were looking good, as you can see:
And so was the pond outside the alumni center:
Click on either photo to see it bigger, in a new window.
Tina Hay, editor
I was driving back from the printer in Virginia the other afternoon, and as I came up College Avenue, the light on Old Main and the daffodils in the lower Old Main lawn just seemed especially sweet. Of course, in the time it took me to go around the block and find a parking space, the sky clouded over a bit and suddenly Old Main wasn’t catching the light anymore. But still, I thought you might enjoy seeing the view; click on the photo to see a larger version.
While I was out of the car, I walked a few more yards down to the Allen Street gates, where some orange-colored tulips (those are tulips, right?) are in full bloom:
If you’re coming up for the Blue-White Game this weekend, you’re in for a treat. Some of the trees on campus are in blossom, and AccuWeather says we’re supposed to have a high of 74 on Friday and 82 on Saturday. Enjoy.
Tina Hay, editor
Apparently 8:30 tomorrow evening marks an event called “Earth Hour,” in which people all over the planet turn off their lights for an hour to reduce energy consumption and the resulting pollution. Penn State is getting involved by turning off the lights of some of its showcase buildings, including Old Main and the IST Building. The Penn State sites are in good company—the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower are also taking part.
Chas Brua, contributing editor