Author Archive

Keep the Lots Clean

A note to Penn State football fans: If you’re going to tailgate on Saturday, or anytime this fall, don’t let this happen:

Those images come from the Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority, which has the important-but-unenviable task of cleaning up the tailgating lots around Beaver Stadium on Sundays. The issue? Too many tailgaters are putting the wrong items in the wrong bags during football weekends. The clear bags are meant for trash, while the blue bags are meant for recyclable materials—namely plastic, glass, and metal.

However, as Amy Schirf, the Authory’s education coordinator, told StateCollege.com, “Many of the blue bags designated for recycling will also contain food, liquid, diapers, bags of dog feces, purses, bags, plastic wrap.” And that’s only accounting for the stuff that makes it into bags in the first place.

This particular mess was left after Penn State football took down Georgia State.

So, a friendly reminder: Throw your trash away, and of course, make sure you’re always using the right bag.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

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September 29, 2017 at 3:21 pm Leave a comment

The Family Business

Photo via Hoffman United

A pair of Penn State students are using their entrepreneurial spirit to try to revitalize their hometown.

Erie natives Paul and Christine Hoffman, sophomores who are two-thirds of a set of Penn State triplets, formed the group Hoffman United in 2014. As the duo told GoErie.com, Hoffman United is a real estate development, construction and property management company that seeks to help cities by “redeveloping areas to make long-lasting impacts.”

Namely, Hoffman United buys neglected real estate and renovates the buildings to turn them into apartment complexes. Paul, the company’s president (who got his start in business mowing neighbors’ lawns at age 12) and Christine, its vice president, purchased their first property in 2016, for $69,000, and plan to own more than 100 by the end of 2017.

Christie told Erie.com that her motivation in all of this is to help their local community. Paul echoed this sentiment, saying “We believe every neighborhood can be transformed.”

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

September 22, 2017 at 10:25 am Leave a comment

It’s Good to Be the King

Don Roy King’s already-packed trophy case added another Emmy on Sunday night. King ’69, a 2016 recipient of Penn State’s Distinguished Alumni Award, won the Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series for his work on the April 15, 2017 episode of Saturday Night Live, the first in the program’s history that aired live in all four major American time zones.

After receiving his seventh Emmy since becoming the director of the long-running show, King took one question from the press about comedy’s place in America’s “fraught political climate.” Saying that he’s always been “proud of the show,” King said that the 42nd season of Saturday Night Live “felt different, more important” and that it mixed “holding people accountable” with “doing some healing.”

Bill Difilippo, online editor

September 18, 2017 at 3:06 pm 1 comment

Aurelia Meijer Is a Breath of Fresh Air for Penn State Field Hockey

Photo via Cardoni

When Aurelia Meijer came to Penn State in the fall of 2015, it wasn’t just her first time on a college campus. It was her first time ever stepping foot in the United States.

Meijer, a standout midfielder/forward on the Nittany Lion field hockey team, holds the distinction of being the first foreign-born player in program history. Born in South Africa, Meijer has lived in the Netherlands since she was 4.

It was not long after that Meijer started playing field hockey. She picked up the game after watching her father play in the country’s highest men’s league and her grandfather play for the national team in the Netherlands. The Meijers even have a turf next to their house in the Dutch municipality of Hattem, where you can watch the family play and work on their skills.

Basically, field hockey—in addition to being part of the cultural identity of the Netherlands—has been a constant presence in Meijer’s life from the time she was a child.

So it only makes sense that Meijer is really good at the sport. When she was 15, Meijer played against women in their 30s as a member of the Overgangsklasse, the second tier of field hockey in her country. While she never got the opportunity to play for the national squad, she was a member of her regional team as well.

But despite the success she had at such an early age, Meijer’s interests went beyond playing the sport. She says combining field hockey with coming to America and studying seemed “so logical and awesome.”

“I put so much time in field hockey and this was a way to get something out of it,” Meijer says. “I knew I was never gonna go for the national team—I was not good enough at the time. This was a way to get something out of field hockey and I love it.”

Photo via Cardoni

Meijer says she had always wanted to visit the United States, as pieces of American culture—movies and songs especially—were part of her childhood. Later, a friend who is a member of the field hockey team at Northwestern encouraged Meijer to consider heading stateside to play.

But while her friend’s transition to America was relatively easy, Meijer struggled. She was homesick and had to work to improve her English. She wouldn’t eat when she’d go to dining halls because she didn’t know what to eat. Meijer wasn’t only pushed out of her comfort zone culturally; she also had to learn a new approach to playing field hockey. According to Meijer, there’s more of an emphasis on developing skills in the Netherlands, while teams in the United States look to be as physically and mentally strong as possible. While she came to Penn State with an advanced set of skills and a rare feel for the game for a young player, she struggled in the weight room and had never gone through as much conditioning as she did as a freshman.

Still, Meijer’s talent helped her secure first-team All-Big Ten honors as a freshman. She duplicated that last season as a sophomore, and her higher comfort level was reflected in her selection as an All-American.

Meijer’s freshman season also featured a moment when she briefly became an internet sensation: In her best game in blue and white, she recorded her first career hat trick in a 3-2 win against Iowa—scoring her final goal as time expired.

The game—which doubled as the first time her father saw her suit up for Penn State—was broadcast on Big Ten Network. Right after it ended, a fired-up Meijer gave an interview which led to her being described as “a breath of fresh air.”

Halfway through her Penn State career, Meijer has opened an international pipeline for the Nittany Lions: She was joined last season by defender Bes Bovelander, who is also from the Netherlands. But Meijer says she doesn’t view being the team’s first international player as a point of pride. If anything, she laughs at the fact that having a player from somewhere other than the United States was a new experience for everyone. “It was funny because it was new for me,” she says, “but it was also new for the team.”

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

August 24, 2017 at 5:04 pm Leave a comment

Joe Kovacs’ Silver Leads the Way for Penn Staters in London

The first weekend of competition at the IAAF Track & Field World Championships in London was kind to a trio of Penn Staters. Joe Kovacs ’11, Darrell Hill ’15, and current Nittany Lion Isaiah Harris all made it to at least the semifinals of their events, with Kovacs taking home a silver medal for his performance in the shot put.

Kovacs, who won gold at 2015 world championships, was the top American in the event with a 21.66-meter throw en route to the silver. While his final throw would have narrowly won him the gold, Kovacs was flagged for a foul. The infraction was reviewed, the call was upheld, and Kovacs took to social media to address the decision.

Thank you for all the support! Proud to go down swinging with a winning distance on the last throw. A foul is a foul. Congrats @tomwalshsp !

A post shared by Joe Kovacs (@joekovacsusa) on

Kovacs was joined in the shot put final by Hill, who came in 11th during his debut at the world championships with a throw of 20.79 meters.

Harris, our July/August 2017 featured athlete, made it to the semifinals of the 800 meters. The rising junior registered a time of 1:46.66, good for fourth in his heat and 17th overall. Also competing on the track was volunteer assistant Eddie Lovett, who participated in the 110-meter hurdles and registered a time of 13.67 seconds.

There’s still one more Penn Stater who is slated to compete at the world championships: rising junior Keianna Albury will run in the 4×100 meter relay for the Bahamas on Aug. 12.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

August 9, 2017 at 4:46 pm Leave a comment

Afghanistan Through the Lens of Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry went to Afghanistan for the first time in 1979. Now, 38 years later, McCurry ’74 is releasing a new book highlighting some of his photography from the country.

Afghanistan comes out later this month, and features more than 140 images from McCurry’s time spent abroad. His work regarding Afghanistan and its people has made headlines—the most notable example, 1984’s Afghan Girlwas deemed “arguably the most iconic picture of all time” by CNN in 2016.

You can pre-order a copy of the book right here, and head to The Guardian to check out some of McCurry’s work in Afghanistan.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

August 8, 2017 at 4:10 pm Leave a comment

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