You’ve probably seen him passing through campus on a busy day or heading up the stairs to the second-floor HUB offices. 2013 Homecoming Executive Director Bobby Walter is always on the run. Distinguishing himself through impeccably styled outfits and his one-of-a-kind sense of humor, there’s no question about what makes Walter so cool. Valley sat down with everyone’s favorite Overall for the inside scoop on everything blue and white.
Valley: What originally inspired you to become involved in Penn State Homecoming?
Bobby Walter: I first became involved in Homecoming as a freshman as a Captain on the Competition Committee. One of my friends was involved and I was still looking for something I could be a part of. I found pretty quickly that I really liked Homecoming and what it was doing at the time, so I stuck with it!
V: Three years later and you’re the Executive Director! What are some of your goals this year?
BW: One of the biggest goals is to have a bigger presence on campus and really find an identity for Homecoming. We’d really like to solidify ourselves as an organization and stay true to our mission. Another big goal of ours is to make all Homecoming events cohesive with what we’re working on throughout the entire year.
V: What direction do you see Homecoming going in?
BW: I’m really impressed with the Captains and Directors this year. No one is afraid to try new things or step outside the box. It’s really exciting because it gives everyone the chance to be innovative and work on events and projects that they think will add something to Homecoming week. It’s weird when a week goes by where we don’t come up with some cool new thing. It’s exciting!
V: What new Homecoming event can Penn Stater’s look forward to seeing this year?
BW: We’re trying to have a block party downtown before the parade, which will give people something to do before the parade starts. We’ll have food, performances and Penn State related activities. Vendors from downtown have also been invited to be a part of the event!
V: This year’s Homecoming theme is “Generations Evolve, Tradition Remains”. What does this mean to you?
BW: To me, it means that no matter what you choose to do as a Penn Stater or where your path takes you, there’s always that home base or that tradition you can fall back on. You’ll always have the people that you met at Penn State and once you graduate, they will stick with you forever. What you learn here is going to be something you hold with you for life.
V: What’s your favorite aspect of Penn State Homecoming?
BW: My favorite thing is just to be involved in the day-to-day activities. I usually go to class then come back to the Homecoming office and do work for a while. It’s the feeling of being in the HUB and being around everyone. It’s become my life now.
BW: I’ve become a lot smarter in terms of knowing myself a little bit better and knowing what I like. I’m really into color blocking and things that are different, bold and interesting. I like things that are thoughtfully put together as well as different things that you don’t see everyday. My style is kind of punky. I like looking like a hood-rat sometimes.
V: Where do you get your style inspiration?
BW: I actually have a few blogs that I post a bunch of stuff on. I started one blog my freshman year in college and the other I started last year. It’s a way for me to archive my thoughts and go through them later to see what I was thinking at certain points in time. I like to blog about music because sometimes when you listen to certain music you get a feeling and want to dress a certain way.
V: What’s your go-to item of clothing?
BW: You can pretty much always find me wearing a pair of simple black pants. I find stuff to dress them up and I change my style around with other accessories like shoes- I have a lot of those.
V: How do you feel that your style represents your personality?
BW: In terms of what I do for Homecoming, I’m not afraid to try new and different things. I like to wear things that are new and different too. I like to joke around and having a sense of humor is important to me. Being able to express that through what you wear is cool.
V: Do you have any style advice for Valley readers?
BW: Now is the time to discover your interests, especially in terms of your personal style. You’re never going to have some of the opportunities you have now to wear all different things and experiment with hairstyles. I shave my head in different ways all the time because I know that this is the only time I’ll be able to do something like that. Remember to be fearless and be confident. Be confident in everything that you do-that’s what makes you look good- well unless you’re ugly.
Photos by Carolyn Hamm