Category Archives: Campus Culture

Do Something That Scares You

dothingsthatscareyou.natalierunnerstrom Ever since I came to Penn State (a mere year and a half ago), I’ve come to be a bit of an adventurer. I moved across the country for college just because I wanted a change of environment. For my 19th birthday, I went skydiving. I’ve given my phone number to an attractive Chris Hemsworth look-a-like on a flight home from Pittsburgh. I’m saving up for a volunteer trip to Taiwan. I desperately want to take acrobat lessons. In November, I wandered New York City by myself for the first time.

My typical mentality can be summed up with the question “why not?” Generally speaking, there’s nothing that I’m afraid of doing. Or so I thought.

Recently, the makers behind PSNtv’s PSU Matchmaker hosted a speed dating event in Willard, and I decided to try to give it a shot. My initial goal wasn’t to find my “true love” because speed dating is something I would never consider doing before this. Typically, I’m an outgoing person, so it seemed like no big deal. I’m the queen of impulsive actions and adrenaline fixes – I could swallow my pride and try out speed dating. If anything, it’s a fun story to tell people.

I decided to drag along my best friend and fellow Valley writer Sabrina Evans, because let’s be real – I wasn’t doing this alone. All week, we texted back and forth about how scared we were, but ultimately we bit the bullet and trudged over to Willard on a bitterly cold Thursday night. But things didn’t work out the way we anticipated. Continue reading

All PAWS on Deck: Volunteer at an Animal Shelter this Holiday Season

PsychologicalPets.NatalieRunnerstrom (5) As the holiday season rolls around, it truly brings out the best in people – the giving side of people. Whether that be giving to charity or donating your time, the holiday season is a time of year where people come together to help others.

Have you ever wanted to get involved around the Centre County area but just weren’t sure where to start? What about volunteering at an animal shelter? I know there are animal lovers out there and these animals could really use our help and lots of love, especially this time of year.

At Centre County PAWS, they make it very easy for people to volunteer by completing an easy two-step process. If you so choose to volunteer at PAWS, you must fill out a volunteer application, which can be done online. You can choose to volunteer on your own or volunteer within a group (if you’re involved in an organization here on campus and are looking for philanthropy opportunities, this could be a good event to consider).

The second step in the process is to preregister for a training date. There are many different volunteer areas at PAWS and you must choose an area before requesting registration for your desired area of training. These areas include: cat care, cat adoption helper, dog care, dog adoption helper, front desk and training for other volunteers. After you choose an area that you wish to volunteer in, then you can register by email for a training time. Continue reading

Spending Thanksgiving in State College


Even though State feels like a second home, Happy Valley doesn’t even compare to actually being home. The kids from PA, NJ, NY, MD, etc all rejoice about finally being able to see their dogs, their friends and most importantly their family. For international kids, the wait goes until the end of the semester. And if these students are not visiting with their friends, these students are most likely stuck in a ghost town in the middle of nowhere.

“I hate staying at Penn State when everyone else is gone. I wish I could celebrate a real Thanksgiving,” Nada Aljassim says. Nada is a junior and a Nutrition major.

To kids from the US of A, Thanksgiving is the one time a year where no one judges you for eating as much as you do, acknowledging what you are grateful for and spending time with friends and family. It’s filled with pumpkins, cornucopias, pies, bread stuffing and not to mention one hell of a turkey. But chances are, most of the international kids have never celebrated Thanksgiving at home.

So here’s a quick guide of how to have yourself a joyful little holiday!

1. Get your friends!

If you’re an international student, you most likely know a bunch of other people from your country that aren’t going home or to friend’s houses, so don’t spend the holiday alone this year! Continue reading

The Best Late Night Bites

IMG_4288 By now, may have read the “Penn State Eats Here” article in our Fall 2014 print issue. While the restaurants downtown definitely deserve their own bucket list – what about the late night eateries?

So let’s just be honest right from the start and admit that our late night eating habits are still in full swing (for most of us anyway). It’s so hard not to crave a little something when you’re staring blankly at your homework, only pausing to acknowledge that your stomach is counting the five—now six—hours since your last meal.

And we’re here to tell you that you’re in the right place to be hungry late at night.

Here’s a few of our favorite late night places—the places we’re sure will put your hunger to rest…for now.

If you’re hungry for something that will stick to your ribs (and provide leftovers for tomorrow morning), go to: The Diner

If you haven’t had their stickies, you have to know about their late night macaroni and cheese deal.  You can add pretty much whatever you want to their already delicious macaroni and cheese (a personal favorite is chicken and ranch) and the portions are huge. Continue reading

5 Struggles that Only Penn State Students Understand

AW1_wTBCMAEax0-.jpg-large I would like to preface this article by saying that Penn State University, as we all know, is the greatest school on Earth. We have a pristine campus, some of the most fun bars and the best student section in the Big Ten. What’s not to love? Every great school, however, has its flaws. So, although we LOVE YOU, Penn State, these are the top five things we struggle with.

1. When you have an 8 am in Keller.

This tops our list because there is literally nothing worse than trekking to this building in the morning– Or afternoon– or night. You walk along, thinking to yourself, “Just get to the library and you’ll almost be there.” Then, you get to the library, and realize you are not close. At all. By the time you finally make it there, you’re sweating under your winter jacket. Unlucky for you, the heat is on in your classroom. Have a great day!

2. When a professor schedules an exam for the Monday after a canning weekend.

We understand that they need to stick to a schedule, but we go to Penn State. Isn’t everyone FTK?! There is nothing worse than driving back to school from a canning weekend only to sit in the library for hours. Continue reading

Project Cahir: The Fight Against Student Poverty


One of the best parts of being a Penn State student is the endless amount of activities that are available for everyone to get involved with. Valley was lucky enough to speak with Natasha Bailey, a student who is very passionate about one of her organizations: Project Cahir.

Project Cahir was founded at Penn State two years ago. It is named after Bill Cahir, a United States Marine and Penn State alumnus, who was known for his dedication to community service. The club’s mission is to fight college student poverty, an issue many of us may not be aware of.

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 2.28.53 PM

Bailey explains that she was unaware of student poverty before she joined the initiative. Students around campus may be struggling to find their next meal, or a place to sleep at night. To combat this, Bailey created a poverty resource card. This card helps students find free resources on and off campus.  There is also the “Take Cahir” initiative, which helps students that need to purchase textbooks, toiletries and groceries.

Project Cahir has worked with the Office of Development to raise money for students in need, and even met with President Barron to make sure that every textbook is available on reserve at the library. They are also working with local hotels to find affordable semester break housing solutions for students who cannot afford to go home during breaks.


This organization brings new light to an issue we don’t think about often. If you are inspired by the passion of Project Cahir volunteers, you can make a difference. Their current project is a crowd-funding campaign to raise $5,000 for students in need.  You can learn more about the initiative and donate at

It is exciting to be involved at Penn State, and Project Cahir is an organization that definitely deserves more attention in our community.

Photos provided by Natasha Bailey

Penn State Gets a Lesson on Girl and Guy Code

GirlCodeGuyCode.MeghanTranauskas You know it was a good night when not only did the entrance to the show require a disclaimer sign for profanity and adult content, but your review of the event will probably need one of those, too.

But, as a courtesy to sensitive eyes and ears, we’ll skip over some of the more, how should we say, unladylike material from this past Saturday evening and get straight to crackin’ the code – Girl and Guy Code, that is.

This weekend, comedians Kevin Barnett of MTV’s Guy Code, and Nicole Byer and Alice Wetterlund of Girl Code payed Dear Old State a visit, laying down some seriously LOL-worthy #realtalk for the packed HUB Alumni Hall. Valley was there to get the scoop, and after drying our tears from laughing way too hard over things we probably shouldn’t think are funny, we decided to share some words of wisdom from our three new comedy spirit animals.

Homeless men are the new George Clooney.

“Y’all got any sexy homeless men around here?” asked Byer. “Never go to L.A. The homeless men are way too sexy. They’re failed actors who found meth and spend all day bending over trash cans, which is a major core workout, might I add.”

The reasoning here is oddly on-point. Continue reading

Going Steady: Giving Relationships A Try in the College “Hookup” Culture

RelationshipsInCollege_SkylarYuen There he is. The man that makes your heart sing. Your face flushes red when you see him. You fluff your hair and put on your best smile, hoping he notices. Or, it’s the girl whose beauty outshines the rest. Something about her just makes you stop and stare, and even though you can’t define it, it’s there. And you want it…bad. But, you can’t be in a relationship because… college, right?

It’s everywhere. Whether you have read articles about college dating failures in Cosmo or Elite Daily, seen features on our generation’s struggles in The New York Times or heard it passed through the lips of your peers, the idea that college relationships don’t work is very prevalent. So, what is up with relationships? Is commitment in college really such a crime?

“I think relationships in college can work, but a lot of the time things are just really casual and people tend to go for the ‘we’re not defining the relationship’ idea,” says junior public relations major Chrysten Colacicco. “Generally I think college tends to be defined more by a hookup culture than actual relationships.”

“Hookup culture” isn’t just a term used among college students. It’s a term that has become easily attributed to the twenty-something’s of today.

But even if you don’t partake in the hookup culture, maybe you still have your “because… college” reason to avoid commitment. The main purpose of college is to achieve your goals and work toward a future. Do relationships get in the way? Continue reading

What’s new with THON 2015?


Each year, the THON Executive Committee makes important decisions and implements changes in an effort to improve THON. Although many of us have heard about this year’s changes, most people remain unclear on the reasons as to why they are being made. We talked to THON 2015 PR Media Relations Captain Graceanne Domino to learn more about the changes being made for THON 2015.

 Morale to Dancer Relations

One of the most well known changes has been the name change of the infamous Morale committee. “Morale” is now known as “Dancer Relations.” “The new name of Dancer Relations more directly reflects the committee’s purpose of serving as the primary liaison to volunteers selected to dance for THON Weekend,” Domino says. Despite the name change, the Dancer Relations committee will continue to fulfill the same duties that the Morale committee previously handled, including the planning of various pre-THON and THON Weekend Events and ensuring the safety and well-being of the Dancers throughout THON Weekend. “The name change displays the Committee’s increased focus on Dancer health and wellness,” Domino adds. Continue reading

Mid-Semester Cleaning

CleaningTipsMaryDuggan “Some clean, others don’t clean well,” said Rick Dunlap of TNT Cleaning Services when asked how students clean their dorm rooms and apartments. Dunlap told us that when he gets called in, he has to clean EVERYTHING because all spots are missed. However, do you know the common spots that you miss when you are cleaning? We aren’t talking about the obvious like vacuuming, doing the dishes or laundry, but the stuff you forget about that you really shouldn’t.

Think of how many times you use the same cleaning supply. The broom that has cleaned your dirt covered floor, the grimy sponges that get the toughest dried ketchup marks loose. I bet you never thought about cleaning that. Well, now you should. After a couple of uses you should make it a point to clean out your vacuum and clean out your broom’s bristles. For the sponges you can clean them in the dishwasher a few times, but it’s best to replace them every few weeks–if you don’t they will start to smell! However, if you are more into using the dishwasher as opposed to the old fashioned way, you need to remember to clean that as well. If you add vinegar to a load of dishes or simply put it in the dishwasher, it will clean the machine. This way, it can operate better, which makes for shinier, spotless dishes. Continue reading