Category Archives: Campus Culture

Fourth of July in State College


While State College can be fairly quiet over the summer, it is home to the Central PA 4thFest and the best all-volunteer fireworks display in the nation! The 4thFest has been rated among the top five Largest, Biggest, Best 4th of July Fireworks shows in the United States. Not too shabby for a college town.

The 4thFest is a day-long, patriotic birthday party held on Penn State’s east campus. It is organized by Central Pennsylvania July 4, Inc., a non-profit organization with an all-volunteer board and leadership team consisting of over 550 volunteers. Not only do they put together one heck of a fireworks show, but they also work year-round to plan and organize the fun-filled activities for the July 4th event.

The celebration will kick off with the annual Firecracker 4K at 9 a.m. on campus. Everyone is encouraged to participate since there will be prizes awarded to top finishers in all categories. Continue reading

Thank You, Dear Old State

IMG_0593Freshman year was weird.

It was fun, challenging, made me want to drop out and move to California and made me question why I couldn’t skip high school and come straight to State. It’s mind blowing to think it’s over and I’m moving on to sophomore year.

Yes, my two semesters at UPark were polar opposites. Fall 2013 was the time of my life, while during spring 2014 I was ready to transfer. But I wouldn’t change a thing. If I hadn’t come here… well, who knows what would have happened? My experiences, my friends, my life would be totally different and I don’t know if that’s a good thing.

I’ve had amazing experiences at State. Some I probably shouldn’t tell my parents, some they know all about. Each one has taught me something I didn’t know before, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. So thank you, Dear Old State, for helping me keep it real my freshman year, and for teaching me things like this: Continue reading

Are Summer Classes for You?

Hsieh.SummerClass2Everybody always talks about staying here over the summer – for some people it’s to work, some to play and for some to take classes. While staying here with your friends seems like a great idea and many people say summer classes are “easier,” they aren’t all fun and games. Here are things you should keep in mind before registering for the summer.

Summer classes are expensive

There’s really not much else to say about this, and it’s hard for students to afford them if your parents won’t (or can’t) pay for them. 10 credits costs about $8,000, and student aid doesn’t always cover summer courses, but only fall and spring semesters. Continue reading

5 Stages of Loss at Graduation

Zucker_friendsgrad2The 55 days of Café are almost into single digits, and reality is setting in—seniors are graduating.  How are seniors supposed to cope with the loss of the four greatest years in the happiest of Valleys? Think way, way back to Psych 100. We learned about Kubler-Ross’s Five stages of Loss and Grief. Though usually applied to dealing with death, this model can easily depict the thoughts and eventual acceptance of moving on from our most cherished collegiate years.


I don’t know the actual date of graduation. I think it’s sometime at the end of spring. There’s no need to pick up my cap and gown. The Student Bookstore will not run out of my height in my gown because no one else is picking their cap and gown yet either. And the other students are definitely not taking them out of the square plastic packaging allowing the folded creases to fade. Continue reading

An Open Letter to Bad Professors

photo1024x682Dear Bad Professors,

It takes a lot of time and energy to be a teacher. Students understand. You take time out of your day to pass on your “words of wisdom” and “undeniable truths.” Semester after semester of syllabi, new textbooks, new classrooms – it gets exhausting. And we understand that you have the upper hand. You have rights.

Surely by performing such a gracious act as passing on your worldly knowledge to your potential successors, you have earned the right to teach the subject how you please, not stopping for one (or a hundred) confused students. Surely by grading an infinite amount of papers without stopping you have the right to slap a C by default on a student’s carefully constructed essay, simply because you’re tired and he used a verb in the wrong context.

Wrong.  Continue reading

You Made It Class of 2014

Zucker_goodbyehappyvalleyDear graduating seniors,

Congratulations! You did it. You successfully balanced your schoolwork, social life and your various extracurricular activities for the last four years. As sad as it is to say it, your time in Happy Valley is almost over. But rest assured…you will be missed.

Valley is writing this letter to you on behalf of the Penn State student body, who will miss you next year. We know you’ll be hearing some graduation speeches next week, but we wanted to take the time to write you a more personal letter to send our thanks and well wishes before you leave.

Penn State holds so memories, and there is a lot to look forward to as an alum. Years from now, you’ll bring back your kids and share your PSU pride with them. You’ll bring them to the shrine and take pictures. Then, you’ll give them a tour of all of your old study spots in the stacks. Most importantly, you’ll bring them to Old Main and show them the true beauty of this campus. Continue reading

The Palmer Museum of Art: Ever Been Inside?

Mannino.PalmerMuseumYou walk by The Palmer Museum of Art every day, but have you actually stepped inside?

Junior Shannon Agredo goes frequently.

“I’ve been to the Palmer many times being an art major and all,” says Agredo. “It’s almost mandatory.”

The Palmer Museum of Art, found on campus next to the Forum building, is an admission-free arts and cultural resource for the University and surrounding communities. The museum boasts 11 galleries, a permanent collection that holds more than 5,000 works of art, a print study room, a 150-seat auditorium and a sculpture garden. Continue reading

Foreign Perspective: Things I Love About America

If you’ve ever studied abroad, then you know what it’s like to be submerged in an entirely foreign culture. But have you ever wondered what it’s like on the flip side of the experience – what it’s like for someone going abroad to America? Join columnists Amy Chilcott, of Australia, and Kasumi Hirokawa, of China, as they encounter all things American and Penn State – and tell it as they see it the way only one with a foreign perspective can.


During my time in the U.S. I’ve noticed that Americans love America. Patriotism here exists like nowhere else in the world. After talking to a few other international students, I realized that they appreciate different things about the U.S. than Americans do. Here are a few of the things I, as an Australian, appreciate about the U.S.


The stores

When I go home, I have about four stores to buy clothes in. In Australia there’s no Forever 21, no Urban Outfitters, no Bloomingdales (however, we did have our first H&M open in Sydney this month!). Our choices are limited. You might be thinking, “Oh, but you can just shop online, right?” Well, yes, but after converting currency and paying international shipping fees, everything is too expensive. Clothes here are pretty reasonably priced too: a shirt that costs $15 here would cost $30 in Australia. Continue reading

Sashay into Spring with Volé Ballet Club’s Seasonal Showcase

vole1Put on your dancing shoes and tap into your inner ballerina this weekend, because Penn State’s ballet club, Volé is taking you on a Broadway-inspired ride with their spring showcase.

The showcase, taking place at two different times on Sunday, April 27th in Schwab Auditorium at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., will feature an array of exciting numbers from popular Broadway musicals like The Lion King, Mamma Mia and Cats, performed by a talented group of over 100 dancers.

“It’s a great show for all ages. It’s very engaging,” says vice president and artistic director Mariel Harden. “I think we’re really going to connect with the audience. They’re going to be drawn in the entire time, and hopefully singing along.” Continue reading

#JoinTheFightPsu: Penn State’s Fight Against Sexual Violence

photo3Fact: According to the U.S. Department of Justice, one in five women will be sexually assaulted in college.

Fact: Since August 23, 2013, 24 reports of sexual assault have been filed with local (State College or University Park) police.

Fact: According to the Center for Public Integrity, 90 to 95 percent of all college cases go unreported.

Fact: Every year, Penn State students take a stand against sexual violence.

“The purpose of Sexual Violence Prevention and Awareness Month is to convey that the Penn State community as a whole has taken a stand against sexual violence,” says Taylor Olson, coordinator of this year’s events. Continue reading