Accepted your Offer? Time to Pick Housing!

As an incoming student, one of the biggest concerns is housing. It is the first time many students will be living on their own in a new place. Luckily, Penn State has a ton of great housing options to make you feel right at home!

A traditional style dorm in East!

East – This is a very popular option among first-year students as it is the only part of campus completely occupied by first-year students. East offers a traditional living experience with double dorms and communal bathrooms located on each floor. The dining commons were recently updated, and now boast a new salad bar, deli, and sushi place! Many first-year students prefer the atmosphere of east and comfort of living among their peers. East is located near Beaver Stadium and the BJC – perfect for football games, concerts, and THON.

West – West is filled with brick buildings and boasts a traditional collegiate feel. West is conveniently located near many classroom buildings, the library and Rec Hall (gym). West dorms are traditional style. Many claim that West dining commons bake the best cookies on campus!

Pollock Commons has lots of great food options!

Pollock – Pollock is another popular option among first and second year students. Pollock is conveniently located near the White Building (gym), many classroom buildings, and is not far from downtown. Pollock has a very good dining commons and computer lab. Within Pollock Commons is The Mix which is an extremely popular to-go restaurant!

South – Much of South has been recently renovated. South dining commons offer a lot of different options from sushi to Italian. South is popular due to its close proximity to downtown amenities, such as shopping and restaurants. South also houses all sororities. While it is not common for many first-year students to live in South during the regular academic year, many students are housed in South during the summer session.

Redifer Commons located in South has up to ten different dining options!

Nittany Apartments – Nittany Apartments give students the ability to live in an apartment while on campus. Each apartment has its own bathroom and kitchen. Nittany apartments are typically reserved for upperclassmen and athletes.

Eastview Terrace – Do you need your own space? Eastview Terrace is the perfect option for you! Eastview Terrace is filled with single dorms. All of the dorms are comprised of a bed, dresser, desk, and private bathroom. Every floor also has a common area and study space!

 

 

Each student gets a generous size closet within the suite!

North – North is another area of campus conveniently located near many classroom buildings, such as the Business building. North is suite style which many students prefer. All of the suites have their own bathroom, which are cleaned by housing. Another perk of North is that the suites are air conditioned – perfect on those August nights!

No matter where you choose to live remember that you will always be surrounded by tons of Penn State students, and have access to RAs who are always willing to help!

Top five coolest buildings at Penn State

It’s no secret that there are a lot of buildings on Penn State’s campus. With 7,343 acres and 947 buildings at University Park, there’s no shortage of cool places on campus to eat, hang out, and study. Here are just a few of my favorites:

Bio-Behavioral Health (BBH) and Health and Human Development (HHD) Buildings

The Bio-Behavioral Health Building (foreground) and the Health and Human Development Building (background) offer sunny, quiet spaces to hang out and study.

Inside of the HHD Building

Staircase in the atrium of the BBH Building.

Since these buildings were designed to look almost exactly alike, it’s fair to include them together. These buildings are some of the newest on campus; the BBH building was constructed in 2013, while renovations on the HHD building were completed in 2015. Personally, the HHD building is my favorite study spot on campus; it’s always quiet, and large windows provide views of College Avenue that are perfect for people watching. That’s not to say that the BBH building can’t hold its own in the views department; sunny days are perfect for watching people play frisbee on the HUB Lawn. On the inside, lounge chairs, tables, and a quiet atmosphere make focusing on work easy in both buildings.

Business Building

Atrium of the Business Building.

View from the third floor, overlooking the Aboretum.

Bird’s-eye view of the atrium.

While not the most creatively named building on campus, the Business Building is certainly up there as one of the coolest. Home to the Smeal College of Business, this building is always full of students studying, clubs advertising events, and advisers helping students find jobs and internships. It’s also home to Blue Chip Bistro, in case you get hungry between classes or just need a study break. The atrium also features a stock market ticker!

Westgate Building

Outside of the Westgate Building.

Study area.

View of students studying over Atherton Street.

Formerly known as the Information Services and Technology (IST) Building, in 2017 this building was renamed the Westgate Building. Home to IST and Security and Risk Analysis (SRA) majors, this is definitely one of the largest buildings on campus. One of the coolest things about this building is the fact that it serves as a bridge over busy Atherton Street- nothing motivates you to study quite like sitting on top of 45 m.p.h. traffic!

Stuckeman Family Building

Outside of the Stuckeman.

Student work lines the walls on the ground floor.

A gallery showcases different student work throughout the year.

Home to the Stuckeman School for architecture, landscape architecture, and graphic design students, the Stuckeman Family Building is striking both inside and out. The green copper exterior makes it unlike any other building on campus, as does the work that goes on inside of the building. The ground floor is home to showcases of student’s work, from graphic design posters to 3-D architectural renderings. Upper levels of the building have studios for students to work on projects in. Though it may be tucked away on the north side of campus, those who know about the Stuckeman Building fall in love with its uniqueness.

Old Main

View of Old Main from its lawn on a fall afternoon.

View right after walking in the front doors, featuring the famous Land Grant Frescoes.

Upstairs hallway of Old Main.

Upstairs sitting area (open to the public!)

Up-close view of the clock tower at night.

No list of cool buildings at Penn State is complete without mentioning the most iconic building on campus: Old Main. Built and rebuilt throughout the years, Old Main as we know it today was built in the 1930s and at one point included a student lounge and sandwich shop. While today it is home to Penn State’s administrative offices, the building is still open to the public, who are welcome to come see the Land Grant Frescoes that were painted in the early 1940s.

Those Other Classes

Penn State offers over 160 majors. How awesome is that? With this wide variety of choices, there certainly is a great fit for everyone. But what about those other classes students have to take that are not in their field or related to their major? What kind of options does Penn State have for these classes?

“Those other classes” are referred to as “General Education” or “Gen Ed” classes. These include your general arts, sciences, and humanities. Some students do not like these courses, but there is no excuse for that! Penn State offers so many unique options that can enhance your learning experiences and provide you with new and interesting classes! There is even a whole website dedicated just for researching which classes are available!  Let us take a look at a few of these classes, with insight from two professors and a student!

ASTRO 001: Astronomy and Astrophysics

A perfect class for those non-science majors with an interest in Astronomy! There is so much to learn about Astronomy and the universe, so why not spend a semester of your college career learning some basics? This class discusses everything from lights and atoms to the Milky Way! It is an introductory course and only requires basic mathematics skills, allowing students of all majors to have an ability to take it. It is three credits, and covers a general education, natural science credit!

Professor Jane Charlton teaches a section of this course using a video game her and her colleagues have written! Professor Charlton’s favorite part of teaching Astro 001 is when students become “so much caught up in the story of our video game that they forget they are doing their homework”. Imagine taking a class that is so enjoyable, you forget you are actually doing homework…

On top of that, Professor Charlton added that students should take Astro 001 not only to satisfy their Gen Ed requirement with a reasonable workload, but to “gain perspective on the meaning of their existence and their place in the Universe”.

KINES 011: Beginner Downhill Skiing

The amount of gen ed health/gym classes available is incredible. There are so many different interesting offerings that a whole blog post could be written on just those classes. From fly fishing, to ice skating, to introduction to different team sports you may not typically play (handball, pickleball, other “court sports”) Penn State offers a fantastic amount of activities.

I chose to highlight “Beginner Downhill Skiing” because it is one of the most unique courses. Laura Gilham, with help of many Teaching Assistants nationally certified through the Professional Ski Instructors of America, instructs the course. Laura stated that “on-snow class sizes” are kept small to “optimize learning and keep it fun”. She also added, “You can’t learn if you can’t have fun”.

When asked why students should take Beginner Downhill Skiing as their GHA, she said “It’s a great way to get out and have fun in the winter time!” along with “There’s more to winter than the frigid walks across campus.” If you want something to look forward to in the winter, this class may be for you!

While choosing your general healthy and physical activity requirements (GHAs), be sure to take advantage of the unique offerings Penn State provides! Each is typically worth 1.5 credits and three are needed, so choose your top two favorite!

INART005: Integrative Arts- Performing Arts

Rolling with the idea of taking classes you may not have the opportunity to take again, explore all of the art options! GA or “General Art” education classes are part of graduation requirements, so find a fit that is quality for you to take!

Junior MIS Major George Slater took the class INART 005 during his Sophomore year to meet this requirement, and provided some insight on the course.

George said that students attend plays at theaters on campus or downtown in the evenings. Students must attend 7 plays out of a possible 10 during the semester and write reviews on them. The plays are typically offered Monday-Thursday.

George stated about the class, “I actually enjoyed having the opportunity to take this course and see plays I never would have attended if it were not for taking this class. I would definitely recommend it to students looking for an enjoyable Gen Ed Art to take!”

As this is my first semester at University Park, I have not had a full opportunity yet to explore all these different course options. I am excited to be able to schedule my last three semesters with so many diverse courses in mind and would encourage all students to invest time into finding classes they will find interesting! Remember, there is no excuse to only like the classes in your major, those other classes can be just as entertaining!

New Allergen-Free and Pure Kosher Dining Facility

Started August 22, every Penn State student can enjoy allergen-free and Kosher food facility, provided by the independent kitchen in East Dining Hall. I recently caught up with Lisa Wandel, Director of Residential Dining, and Brooke Jodon, Assistant Director of East Food District. They told me that Penn State dining facility would always be dedicated to bringing more diverse of foods for students, living on- and off- campus.

PURE station in EFD

The first concept is health. There are approximately 15 different options of food in the dining hall for Penn State students.All they need to do is simply swipe their student ID cards to get into the dining area. Every dining commons on campus provides vegetarian and gluten-free options. However, only East Food District offers Kosher-certified meals at a new station called PURE. Different from other dining halls, the kitchen will be under supervision of the Star-K Kosher Certification with Mashgiach Ronnie Berman, who “is the only one with a key to the kitchen,” said Lisa, “he opens and closes the station each day, turns on all equipment, inspects the food, and trains employees.”

The food provided by PURE station are free from 9 allergens: dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat/gluten, and sesame. Since it not only provides Kosher food but also allergens-free food, students have all sorts of allergies can get the healthy and “worry-free” food.

The rationale for starting PURE is to provide Kosher food for over a thousand of Jewish students on campus right now and for prospective Penn State students. For most of the time, Jewish students do not choose Penn State because they could not get Kosher food here in State College. What’s more, Jewish students are dropping their commitment with Kosher because they could hardly get any in Penn State, especially for living-on-campus students. Therefore, Lisa and her team conducted research among the Big 10 universities to learn from their experiences. At that time, EFD was undergoing retrofitting and a new independent kitchen was built for allergens-free food project, Lisa thought that it would be a great idea to combine Kosher with allergens-free food together.

PURE is a one-year test pilot program. Food Services staff will continuously monitor the performance of PURE. If it grows by the end of this academic year, the project will attract more students choosing to come to Penn State over other universities. However, Lisa mentioned that if PURE does not do as well as expected, EFD would change it to just allergens-free stations, continuing providing students with “worry-free” food choice.

*PURE is open for dinner from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, as well as brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays, and it is open to the entire community, including students, faculty, staff, Penn State families and guests.

New convenient store “Market East” in East Living Area

Another concept Lisa and Brooke mentioned during the interview was convenience. Not just PURE, Market East also provides fresh fruits, healthy snacks, Pennsylvania-based businesses, and commodities for East halls’ residents. Lisa told me that one of her goals is to constantly listen to feedback from students and make adjustments accordingly. There are around 4,000 students living in East housing and the Residence Life staff see an increasing needs of grocery shopping for on-campus students. Compared to other housing areas, East is relatively far from downtown, which brings students difficulty in grocery shopping. Hence, the Residential management expanded the convenient store, making it larger and providing additional freezers, more beverage coolers, and more necessities.

Fresh produce provided by Market East

Now, students can get quality groceries inside of the East Housing Area, making life more convenient for students. What’s more, “students are looking for healthier choices, such as fresh produce students can keep in their micro-fridges and heat up in their microwaves. We’re proud to offer a wide variety of grab-and-go items and healthier food options, ” said Brooke.

Personal Thought

It has been a few years since I lived on-campus. I am very impressed by the huge changes in the dining hall. At the end of the tour, I tried the dairy-free salted caramel flavored ice cream, made with chickpea juice, made by PURE station. It was very tasty. For a dairy-free ice cream, it was the best taste I had. What’s more, residential management team is really putting efforts in considering students from all different backgrounds. After having a tour in EFD, I feel excited about the future of on-campus dining.

A day in (my) life!

  For this blog, I wanted to give you a peek into what a truly average day in my life is like as a Penn State senior. So last Wednesday, I decided to keep track of everything I did, all day.

8:30: I’m not an early riser, but since I hate rushing in the morning I usually wake up around an hour and a half before my first class. Today’s no different.

9:50: Time for my daily morning struggle–do I have time to grab coffee and not be late to class? Today I decide yes, and I stop at Dunkin on my walk to campus.

10:10: I arrive to my first and only class of the day, Dunkin in one hand, Nikon D7200 in the other (and yes, I made it on time). It’s introduction to photojournalism, a class that I didn’t need for my major but one I wanted to take to get better at photography. Today, we’re editing pictures from a class project shoot we had on Monday.

12:05: I’m done with classes for the day! Today, I have an interview scheduled for 12:30 with my internship supervisor–I’m writing a blog post and I know she’ll have the insights that will give it credibility. It’s a bit of a hike, so I immediately start making my way across campus to make it in time.

1:00: I’ve got the information I need to start writing this blog post, so I start to make my way back to central campus. I pass by the Creamery, but I manage to resist (this time!)

1:15: While heading the HUB to grab some lunch, I stop by Eisenhower Auditorium. I have to attend a lecture by combat photographer Lynsey Addario for photojournalism class, so I drop in to pick up a ticket. While I’m there, I snag a ticket for an upcoming lecture by Dr. Jill Biden. Penn State bringsso many great 

speakers to campus, and since it’s my senior year I’m trying to take advantage of all of them.

1:30: Lunch break at the HUB! My timing has been on-point today–no line at McCalister’s Deli! I get my sandwich, grab a seat and pull up an episode of Shameless on my phone.

2:00: With my schedule open for the rest of the day, I decide to head to my favorite cafe downtown to hammer out some work. I have a blog to write and some editing to catch up on today, but with my small class schedule, I’ve been coming here most weekdays to search for jobs, write cover letters and update my website.

4:30: I’m all caught up on my editing and my blog is done, which means it’s time to head back to my apartment for the day! I’d love to say that I went back and got some more work accomplished, but I ended up falling asleep watching a Keeping up with the Kardashians rerun. Don’t judge.

6:00: I ate out on campus today for lunch, so tonight I decide to cook at home. Most times I open the fridge to cook dinner it’s a mental game of “Chopped”–what can I make with the four things that I have that are mine? I’ve got some veggies that I had leftover from the weekend, so I throw those in the oven and make some pasta. I try to eat vegetarian a few times a week, so I’m all set for tonight’s dinner.

7:00: The rest of the night is a pretty chill one. My roommates and I hang out in our apartment living room watching Pitch Perfect 2, each of us pretending to do work on our computers. It’s not the wildest college night, but when midterm season rolls around it’s time to buckle down.

A Slice of My Life | Moments to be treasured

Morning

Forest Resources Building–where I have Supply Chain class (Source: Penn State News)

Today is Tuesday, my favorite date of the week. I normally have two classes today, both of them are my favorite. Supply Chain is my first class, and we learn how to calculate and manage the demand forecasting. It is such a fun class and the professor is very nice in person. He makes sure every student in class fully understand the concepts (“No Child Left Behind” Act). He always share his personal stories and experiences with us.

My favorite building

The second class I have is a capstone class for my Advertising major. Basically, in College of Communications, most upper-level classes are project-based. We do a lot of projects and present them before finals week. So, though we don’t have a lot of final exams, we’ve got “final week” to compile our semester-long projects into a book. This semester, we are doing energy drink category for the class. Each group is assigned a brand of energy drink to design an advertising campaign. Our group is assigned to work on AMP Energy. At first, I did not have any hope for the brand, since AMP Energy is so small in terms of sales and market share. However, after our group taste test AMP products, we all agreed that AMP Energy has the potential to win the campaign. I am now very excited about our brand and ambitious to win the campaign!

Noon

Tuesday and Thursday afternoons are always peaceful and quiet for me. It is the only time I can relax for the day: having a cup of coffee or having a lunch with my roommates. I only have 30 minutes for lunch on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Afternoon

I don’t have any classes in the afternoon. However, I have to go to workand stay in the office the entire afternoon. Where do I work? I work at The Daily Collegian. It is the student-run multimedia news resource at Penn State. This year, Collegian is celebrating its 130th birthday. I am working in the Collegian as a Business Operations Department Manager under the Business Division. It is getting busier as the semester goes on, not only because we are contacting clients every week, but also we are training new trainees. The board of managers is working hard on designing the 2-month training materials.

Can you find me in this picture?

Each person in the Collegian will have office hours that he/she needs to do each week. Trainees have the least hours, and managers have the most. Although it sounds a little overwhelming at first, you don’t feel anything once you get into the office, because a lot of clients will call in and you will be busy. The same applies to News. Everyday, editors would also come into the office and preparing contents for tomorrow’s newspaper and updates online throughout the day. They are also responsible for newspaper layouts, taking pictures on campus and pitching the stories.

Besides work, Collegian is like my second family at Penn State. I am an international students, and it is hard to talk to my family every day due to the time zone difference. Collegian is the place where I spent most of my time of the day in every week. And every student here is so nice to work with. We become friends easily, because of the same interests or same majors, and we take classes together too!

Evening

Preparing hard for GRE test in October!!!!

After work, I normally grab a simple dinner and head to the library to finish my school work. When I was sophomore and junior, I did not normally go to the library. However, I need to study extra hours in the library, not only because I got more working hours in Collegian but also because I need to prepare for my GRE test, which is for applying the Graduate school. Therefore, I need to spend more time in library to make sure I am not falling behind. I normally go back to my apartment at around 9:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. depending on my progress. Since I live off campus, I need to commute back and forth on the bus. The nice thing is that I do not need to purchase the bus pass. It is complimentary from the housing area.

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