Posts tagged ‘Homecoming’

For Now, and For the Future


Column: A plea for respect and understanding among all who call themselves Penn Staters, and a reminder of our shared fate.

Sitting in my office on another perfect September day, I can look at the most recent issue of our magazine, and at the stories we’re writing and editing for the next one, and find constant reminders of the things that make this place great.

Working at The Penn Stater, we’re fortunate to meet and interact with a lot of the individuals whose intelligence, ingenuity, and hard work make that greatness possible. Just in the past few months, I’ve had the chance to interview faculty members whose research explains everything from the genetic influence on our voting habits to the science of zombified ants. I’ve met students who have established themselves as leaders on campus, in town, and beyond—smart, insightful young adults who are already doing important work. And of course, there are our fellow alumni. Literally every day, we hear about another alum—an artist, an educator, a public servant, or an entrepreneur—who is doing something important, unusual, or just plain cool. As writers and editors, we’re lucky to have such a rich vein of people, and stories, from which to choose.

It is this collective—of faculty and staff, of current students, and of more than half a million living alumni—who combine to make Penn State great. More than an institution, Penn State is a community, and like any community, every demographic contributes to the whole. We are greater than the sum of our parts, and we are weaker when those parts don’t function in unison. Right now, in too many ways, unity among Penn Staters seems increasingly hard to find.

There is room for constructive disagreement within a community—such critical discourse is vital. The problem is the increasingly combative, often disrespectful, and occasionally hateful tone of “debate” among various members of our community. It seems to have come to a head over the past week. (more…)

September 26, 2013 at 5:01 pm 32 comments

We Were All in the Zone…

…the Alumni Zone, that is.


I spent Saturday afternoon in the Ashenfelter Multi-Sport Facility, just below Beaver Stadium, helping staff the “Alumni Zone,” a post-Homecoming-game tailgate hosted by the Alumni Association. This was the third year for the Alumni Zone, but the first time I’d ever been able to be there, and it was pretty impressive.

Patrons pay a flat fee for about three hours of music, games, beer and wine, unlimited food, and a chance to meet some Penn State celebrities. This year’s celebrities include several coaches, such as Cael Sanderson (wrestling), Mark Pavlik (volleyball), and Beth Alford-Sullivan (track/cross country); plus several Olympians (rower Natalie Dell ’07 and runner Dominique Blake ’08, among others); and pop singer Bex, who got her start as a Penn State musical theatre student.

The music came from the Phyrst Phamly Reunion Band, pictured above, and from the Alumni Blue Band.

We had a sellout crowd of well over 700, and a great range of ages as well—alumni from the 1950s, if not farther back, on up to 2012, and lots of little kids running around in the games area. Just a great family event.

I thought I’d share a couple of photos I took during the afternoon. First, here’s Natalie Dell telling the crowd that “the only thing better than being an Olympian is being a member of the United States team—and the only thing better than being a member of the United States team is being a Penn Stater.”


Here’s Alumni Blue Band member Larry Parko ’78, ’84g, who’s pretty easy to spot in a crowd:


Here’s Dominique Blake, a Penn State grad and a bronze medal winner for Jamaica at the London games, hanging out with the Alumni Association’s membership team:


And here’s a very young Penn State fan sleeping through the whole thing.

You can see more photos from the event on the Alumni Association’s Facebook page. Kudos to Michele Moore ’85 and the rest of the Alumni Association’s events team for pulling off an event that made a lot of Penn State fans very happy.

Tina Hay, editor

October 7, 2012 at 6:53 pm Leave a comment

Happy Homecoming

It’s Homecoming weekend at University Park, which got me thinking back to this time a year ago, when Mother Nature decided she wasn’t in the mood to help Penn Staters celebrate. Remember this?

A ton of wet, freakishly early snow last October cancelled tailgating, knocked out power to much of the area, and took a lot of the fun out of camping out on College Avenue waiting for the parade.

This year couldn’t be more different. Campus is a gorgeous mix of green (thanks to a lot of much-needed rain over the past week or so) and early-autumn reds and golds. The forecast for Friday and Saturday? Low ’70s and lots of sunshine. If you’re on your way to Happy Valley for the weekend, safe travels. And welcome back.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

October 8, 2010 at 10:13 am Leave a comment

Mark Your Calendars for TEDxPSU: 10/10/10

One of my mentors is Pam Maples, who was managing editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch when I was an assistant sports editor there, and one of the reasons she made such an impression on me was her enthusiasm. Pam wasn’t one of those managers who hovered above the rest of the staff. Just like the rest of us, she got excited when news broke, and she created an atmosphere that brought the best out of people.

Which is why I paid close attention when Pam returned from a conference and said it was among the the most inspiring events she’d ever attended. The conference, TED, was devoted to bringing innovators from various fields together to, essentially, inspire attendees to change the world.

Big talk, right? But I (more…)

September 24, 2010 at 3:38 pm Leave a comment

Snow Joke: The Best Student Section in America Speaks Up

I had plenty of leg room Saturday in section NAU, row 90, the nosebleed section above Beaver Stadium’s north end zone. And I wasn’t the only one: There were plenty of open seats throughout the stadium, the freak weather keeping many returning alumni from an actual homecoming, and keeping many locals from venturing into the stands.

The section that looked the emptiest, of course, was in the opposite corner of the field from mine: the student section, where the first-come, first-served seating arrangement makes it obvious when the students don’t all show up. Disappointingly for a 3:30, nationally televised Homecoming game, the student section never filled up last week. Seeing how many seats sat empty throughout the stadium, I couldn’t be too annoyed at the students; but then, remembering that none of those students had to fly in from out of town or brave the mountains on Route 322 — and that more than a few of them spent part of the first half chucking snowballs at their own cheerleaders — I couldn’t help thinking otherwise.

All of which led me, when I got back to the office Monday morning, to “tweet” sophomore John Tecce, the Paternoville vice president, with a 140-character version of the following: Is it harsh to ask if “The Best Student Section in College Football” only applies to 8 p.m. kickoffs that the students deem to be “big” games?

I think I already knew the answer, but I was really happy to see both Tecce and senior Patrick McDermott confirm it, both for me and their fellow students. On Tuesday, The Daily Collegian ran a letter to the editor from Tecce chastising the minority of his classmates who showed up late (or not at all) for the game against Minnesota, as well as those who spent more time flinging hard-packed snowballs at each other and onto the field than they did actually watching the game.

Today came a column from McDermott, making many of the same points, and reminding me how many of these students take their responsibility — both as representatives of the University to a nation-wide audience, and as supporters of the team — incredibly seriously. (The organization and commitment that goes into running Paternoville, which I experienced first hand last fall, is ample proof of that.) It also offered a nice dose of perspective: as a Collegian sportswriter 15 years ago, I was fired up enough to write this silly little column offering behavioral advice to students whose fandom didn’t meet my standards.

At the same time, I was also one of those student-ticket holders who threw his share of marshmallows at Beaver Stadium before that sort of thing was outlawed…

My point? Ice-chucking no-shows aside, Tecce, McDermott, and most of the rest of these kids are alright. And I have no doubt that when Ohio State rolls into town in a couple of weeks, they’ll be at their best.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

October 21, 2009 at 3:42 pm Leave a comment

Snow Changes Football Parking

Those of you coming up for the Homecoming football game against Minnesota tomorrow, be prepared: Thanks to the earliest snowfall in Centre County history, grass parking lots are closed, and no tailgates or tents will be permitted in paved lots.

There’s a link on Penn State Live with the details, but in case that’s not working, here’s the information in full from the press release:

“Due to the volume of snow already on the ground at University Park, combined with the forecast of potentially significant snowfall tonight (Oct. 16), all grass lots have been closed for Saturday’s football game against Minnesota. Only paved lots will be open for parking, and there will be no tents or tailgating permitted in any of the lots. Those bringing RVs to the game may be redirected to other locations for parking.

“Roughly 20,000 parking spaces are being lost because of the weather conditions. Football fans are being urged to carpool, and those who can walk to the stadium – particularly students – should do so.

“Penn State is working to partner with area businesses to have football patrons park in their lots and be shuttled to Beaver Stadium. Shuttle service to the game will be provided to those parking in the following parking lots: Wal-Mart, Benner Pike; Sam’s Club; Chem Cut; Target; Lowe’s; Home Depot; the former Corning plant on East College Avenue; and the Big Lots Plaza. More information on this will be posted as additional community parking locations are identified.

“The grass lots are closed mainly for safety reasons. The ground is not yet frozen, and the amount of slushy snow that has fallen has turned the lots muddy under the snow. There already is close to a half-foot of snow on these lots, with up to an additional half foot or so being forecast for overnight, making the lots impassable and treacherous to motor vehicle traffic.

“All ADA parking will be located in the East Parking Deck on Bigler Road. This parking deck will be open only to those with ADA parking permits, and it will be serviced by the ADA shuttle.

“Conditions inside the stadium also will be less than ideal. With additional snow forecast overnight, seats and walkways will be snow-covered and slippery. Those attending the game should dress warmly, with a waterproof outer layer of clothing, and wear warm footwear with good traction.

“More information about specific traffic and parking plans will be posted throughout the day, so those planning to come to the University Park campus for Homecoming activities and the football game should check back often. The Homecoming Parade will be held as scheduled.”

Lori Shontz, senior editor

October 16, 2009 at 11:45 am Leave a comment

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