Category Archives: Campus Culture

State of Emergency

skoglund.helpinemergencies.5It’s scary to think about, but a medical emergency can happen to anybody at any time.

While some of us had to take health classes in high school where we learned CPR and how to stop someone from choking, would you be able to do that now? What about in another health crisis? You should always call 911 in a medical emergency, but we’re here to help you figure out what to do until the EMS shows up.

Valley chatted with Theo Waksmunski, a registered nurse and clinical educator at Mount Nittany Medical Hospital, to help you get in the know. Continue reading

Our Simplified Guide to the Library

_DSC2673Looming on the west end of campus like an impenetrable fortress of knowledge, the library is an alternate universe that leaves even super seniors scratching their heads.

If you’re trying to finish a paper due tomorrow night or already planning your finals week stratagem, don’t avoid the library like you would an overly-handsy frat guy on a Friday night. Valley wants you to befriend your campus library this semester with this helpful guide.

The Commons

You stumble through the central entrance having just duked it out with the revolving doors and… now what? According to the library’s Coordinator of Outreach, Megan Giplin, the Commons are your one-stop-shop.

Consider your technology ineptitudes obsolete, because while you might be familiar with the Knowledge Commons as a go-to group study location with its glass study nooks, lounge areas and computers, “not everybody knows that we have an IT service here as well,” says Giplin. Continue reading

How to Survive the Meal Plan Hunger Games

SabineC.Mealpoints3It’s that time of year again – the semester is winding down, and so are our meal-points. This struggle to survive the remainder of the semester is better known as the literal “hunger games.”

So how do we join the winner’s circle? It’s no easy feat. Each day we will battle temptation from Starbucks, Au Bon Pain and Chick-Fil-A, each begging us to swipe for a $10 meal. But, we must resist temptation, perfect our swiping skills and make those meal points last.

Cut down on the coffee

Starbucks is a beautiful thing. It’s also the biggest meal-point-sucker ever. Instead of relying on your points to cover that $5 latte, use a Starbucks gift card.  Or, if you have confidence in your bank account, head to an off-campus S-Bucks and pay with cash. You’ll likely be more mindful of how much you’re spending when you’re paying with “real” money. Continue reading

Talking Race and Identity in Japan with “Hafu”

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 11.24.22 AMMore than 200 people gathered for the screening of “Hafu”, a documentary film on mixed race people in Japan. On-cho Ng, director of Asian Studies Program, calls the film, which gives its audience a rare glimpse into race relations in Japan, “eye-opening and educational.”

Who is a Hafu?

Hafu, the Japanese word for multiracial children of a Japanese parent and a foreign one, comes from half, meaning half-Japanese or half-breed. According to the film, which was released in 2013, one in 49 babies born in Japan are of mixed racial heritages.

The film follows four adult Hafus and one Mexican-Japanese couple raising two biracial children. In the film, Hafus talked about their hardships, identity crises and their personal journeys of self-discovery. Continue reading

Where to Go Swimming in State College

Swim.JosePThe sun is finally starting to show its rays, and Penn State students will be here to soak up every last one of them. The time between the freezing winter and sweltering summer doesn’t last nearly as long as a normal springtime. Soon enough, we’ll be looking for places to take a dip. Luckily, there are various paces to go swimming in the State College area.

Spring Creek

Try cooling off at Spring Creek, located at 800 E. Park Ave. in State College.

“You can get in the water, but it’s pretty shallow. But if you go out further, it’s deeper and you can swim,” says Marisa McGuire, sophomore supply chain major.

McGuire grew up and attended high school in State College, so she’s been around for many summers. McGuire also says that there is a park, baseball field, volleyball court, basketball court and grills available at Spring Creek. Grab a couple of your friends and make a relaxing day out of Spring Creek.

Whipple Dam State Park

Another destination to take a dip is at Whipple Dam State Park. McGuire says the drive is a little farther, but if you have access to a car, it’s an easy ride. Whipple Dam is more like a beach than Spring Creek. It has sand and deep water to swim in. You can also rent pavilions for picnics or canoes and paddleboats to use for the day. Whipple Dam is perfect for going swimming and throwing a little outdoor get-together with your peers. Continue reading

Tawakkol Karman Talks Arab Spring, Democracy and Peace


Writer Kasumi Hirokawa with Nobel Peace Prize winner, journalist and human rights activist Tawakkol Karman.

“As salaam alaikum,” Nobel Peace Prize winner, journalist and human rights activist Tawakkol Karman said on Wednesday as she greeted the crowd in a packed Alumni Hall. This Arabic phrase translates to, “May peace be unto you.”

She then invited those who knew the words of the Arab Spring slogan to recite it with her.

A Peaceful Revolution

“Our revolution is peaceful,” Karman said of Arab Spring, a series of anti-dictatorship demonstrations that began in December 2010. They started when a fruit vendor set himself on fire in Tunisia and spread to other Arab countries such as Libya, Egypt and Karman’s home country, Yemen.

“People wanted a good future for themselves, their generation and for all [of] the world,” Karman said.

“Students ­– young people – like you, went out onto streets, carrying only dreams. The dreams of democracy, of freedom,” Karman, founder of non-profit organization Women Journalists Without Chains, said. “Students just like you decided to dream.” Continue reading

Why Course Scheduling is the Worst Thing to Ever Happen to You

photo-19Breaking News: you’re old.

Seriously, are you really planning out your schedule for next semester? Who even does that? I guess your every waking moment is just one step closer to graduation. On a less melodramatic note, whether you’re ending your amazing freshman year, or getting ready to slam your head into the nearest wall as a rising senior, scheduling your classes is never something to look forward to.

Unfortunately, it’s that time of year again, and there’s a seemingly endless list of reasons why eLion and scheduling is the worst thing you’ll do in this life. So get ready to collect your handy bow and arrow and channel your inner Katniss. You’re about to enter the Penn State Hunter Games, and may the odds be ever in your favor (or the speed of your internet access.)

Lies and Slander

Seriously, can’t you sue people for lies on the Internet anymore? This is 2014! There’s got to be a way for justice to be served when it comes to the dishonesty and false hope that comes along with the scheduling system.

There 87 seats open 24 hours before you can log onto eLion, but the world just doesn’t love you enough apparently to save you a seat.

“It’s the worst thing ever when you check a certain class the day before, and things are looking great, and then when you go to actually schedule it, it ends up being full,” sophomore Sam Henderson said. “It ends up throwing off your entire plan and then you have to start over.”

Watchlist, here we come.

Is under-qualified a word?

You were smart beforehand and memorized your degree audit and your recommended academic plan. You’re even finishing up that one stupid 200-level course right now in order to take this stellar 400-level course next semester.

However, when you go to input it, apparently, your entire life is a lie. What do you mean you’re not authorized to take that class? You’re entering the major for crying out loud! You poor, unfortunate, under-qualified soul. Get ready to run to your advisor’s office at 8 a.m. with the hope that your seat remands open overnight. Yay.

Working up a sweat

Who said sitting on a computer doesn’t count as cardio? The masterminds behind “Insanity” clearly have never attended Penn State. Speeding and throwing your computer out the window all while simultaneously smashing your hands onto a keyboard fanatically can be just simply exhausting.

Also, rapidly copying and pasting while refreshing pages and crying all at the same time can really test your breathing control and hand-eye coordination. Who needs the gym anyway when you can just stress out over course registration?

Have a Life? Too bad.

Whoever decided that midnight was the perfect time to plan out your entire existence for the next several months must be some sort of sadist.

There actually are students who go to bed at normal, early hours of the night that might even find this time to work a bit traumatizing. Even if you’re awake at midnight anyway during the week, it’s still an annoying and random time to have to stop what you’re doing to enter the Hunger Games of all scheduling. Also, if you end up having to schedule on a Friday or Saturday night, it just throws off your entire weekend. Have fun pulling out your laptop at the bars, folks.

Pros and Cons of Taking Online Classes

OnlineClassesScheduling courses in college can be really fun because except for the core classes for our majors, we get to pick what we want to take. Do you want to learn about Ancient Egypt or the Holocaust? Are you interested in doing two yoga classes or taking Nutrition 100?

The possibilities are endless, and seem too good to be true when you realize you can get an “easy gen-ed” course online. But beware: with the pros of scheduling online classes come the definite cons. Let Valley and Penn State students who have taken online courses help you decide whether or not you want to schedule one.

Pro: You can do it from the comfort of your own home

Quite literally. Marie Leibfreid, a junior double majoring in criminology and sociology, has taken three online courses and plans to take two more this summer. “If you have to go home for whatever reason, you don’t need to worry about missing class or getting deducted attendance points since the class goes with you,” she says.

Con: So many technology problems

If you’ve been a Penn State student for more than a semester, then you’ve experienced ANGEL being down. It doesn’t change for online classes, and because you have so long to hand in the work, teachers are rarely sympathetic when an assignment won’t submit. Mike Batson, a senior majoring in chemical engineering who has taken three online classes, says “I was taking a quiz online and the computer froze.”

Pro: Online classes typically have all the work due once a week

You have a week to complete all of the assignments instead of the usual every two to three days. “I could do the work whenever I wanted, at my own pace, and could use my textbook for reference at any time,” says sophomore supply chain management major Kevin Fischer, who has taken two online courses.

Con: You may very easily forget about an assignment

Without the constant reminder of a professor telling you when your huge assignment is due, your daily life routine such as other campus classes, clubs and organizations, work and a social life can distract you from an online assignment. Leibfreid says, “I’ve had to leave reminders on my phone to let me know when I have a project or test coming up.”

Pro: Some professors record the lecture

Not all professors record lectures, but the ones that do really do try to convey the information to students. Mike Batson, a senior majoring in chemical engineering who has taken three online classes, says “Recorded lectures make it easier to learn. If I miss what the instructor is saying, I just rewind the lecture.”

Con: You might not have a lecture

While this may very well be a pro for some people, this does mean that there isn’t somebody physically in front of you to answer your questions right away. “I couldn’t ask questions as quickly or easily and I never heard a lecture,” says Fischer. “Hearing is another platform to remember something other than reading.”

Photo by Sam Florio

The 8 Emotional Stages of Career Fairs

CareerFair.JPonte1-1Now that the bigger career fairs of the year are over, it’s time to look back and remember every painstakingly awkward and triumphant detail. The emotional stages of career fairs differ for everybody but it all starts the same way.

1. Discovery/realization

There it is: the email or flyer or whatever that announces the career fair days. You may ignore it for a few days (or a few weeks) but eventually it boomerangs back to you. You have to go.

Courtney Yobbi, a senior history major, says she thought, “I should go to that. I’ve never been to one. I’m a senior and I’ve seriously never been to a career fair.” And that is when your fate is sealed.

2. Excitement (or disappointment) (or hope)

You scroll through the list of employers coming and are giddy with how many large corporations and businesses are coming that you are completely interested in. Yobbi says that she was excited to go to the People-to-People career fair because “I liked the people who were there. It was all camps and helping other people.” Continue reading

Embracing Cultures with Touch of Africa

Korch_TouchofAfrica3Guests were transported to a fictional country of Zimalia as they sat down for a feast of dishes, music, dances and hottest styles from all over Africa.

Before the festivities began, a moment of silence was dedicated to Nelson Mandela.

A series of skits were performed throughout, only interrupted by music and dance gigs and a fashion show. The skits told a story of a young interracial couple who make a journey to the woman’s home country of Zimalia where she plans to introduce her fiancé to her family. The skits, while being funny and endearing, also embody this year’s theme – Kusafiri Nyumbani, which means “traveling home” in Swahili, according to Valentina Ndibalema, Co-Representative of Penn State African Student Association.

Dance troupe Afrique Fusion performed traditional dances of Senegal and Guinea. The members of Philadelphia-based Kulu Mele drummed and sang while three dancers twirled with their wing-like sleeves. Four-man team UnAfrikShowDem charmed the crowd with their smooth footwork. Continue reading