Where Story Ideas Come From, part 2

November 19, 2008 at 8:41 am 1 comment

Yesterday a bunch of Alumni Association staff piled into a van and headed to Penn State Fayette. The boss (Roger Williams, our executive director) has been taking us to various Penn State campuses over the past year or so. It helps us learn more about the campuses, their strengths, and their unique challenges—some are in urban areas and competing with 50-plus other institutions of higher learning, while others (like Fayette) are in economically distressed rural areas and have a whole other set of issues.

I’m embarrassed to say that in my 12 years as editor of the magazine, I’ve been to probably fewer than half of Penn State’s 24-some locations. So these all-day field trips are great for me—I get to see different parts of the huge Penn State system, and I bring back all kinds of story ideas for the magazine. I’m still digesting all that I learned yesterday, but a couple of things stick out.

—Coal mining is big in southwestern Pennsylvania, and Fayette’s two-year degree in mining technology is a strong program.

—There’s a pretty cool Coal and Coke Heritage Center in the campus library. Here’s a grainy shot from my iPhone:

img_0358-coal-coke-museum1

That’s the chancellor of Penn State Fayette, Emmanuel Osagie, on the right-hand side of the photo. He told us his name is pronounced oh-SAGGY, but added cheerfully that “I accept any derivative” of that pronunciation.

The museum has some cool relics from the heyday of the coal and coke industry, like this sign:

img_0350-liquor-sign

—We also learned that Penn State Fayette students have raised close to $400,000 for THON over the past 10 years. They’re the top campus in THON philanthropy almost every year.

—They have a faculty member in art, Dave DiPietro, who travels to Italy every year. He’s got to have some good stories to tell. Here’s one of his works that I lifted from the Research/Penn State Web site. I’ll e-mail the R/PS editor later to get permission. :-)

"Pennsylvania Considerations," Watercolor and pastel, 10" by 14" by David DiPietro; courtesy David DiPietro and Research/Penn State

"Pennsylvania Considerations," Watercolor and pastel, 10" by 14" by David DiPietro

—The campus hosted a “Fayette County Coal and Coke Music Festival” last September, and plans to make it an annual event.

—The campus’ facilities for students are very impressive. Several very nice auditoriums. A newly added, well-equipped fitness center. A big computer lab. A library. A new-media center of some sort, where students can do film editing. Two gyms, each with a basketball court—the bigger of the two was where Hillary Clinton made a campaign appearance last spring.

Anyway, it was a good day. In two weeks we’re off to Penn State Shenango.

Oh yeah, one last photo, just for fun. On the way back we stopped at the Sheetz in Altoona (surely the Taj Mahal of Sheetzes) and I took this shot … sort of a study in neon and twilight:

img_0383-sheetz

Again, it’s just with an iPhone, so I don’t think I’ll be submitting it to the Pulitzer committee.

Tina Hay, editor

Entry filed under: The Penn Stater Magazine. Tags: , , , , , .

Hooping it Up And in Sports News…

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. A Trip to Worthington Scranton « The Penn Stater  |  September 30, 2009 at 10:42 am

    […] a van to Dunmore, Pa., yesterday to visit Penn State Worthington Scranton—it was the latest in a series of visits to get to know the non-University Park campuses a little […]

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