Campus Highlight: Penn State Harrisburg

Our “Campus Highlight” series allows us to share posts about Penn State campuses, straight from the campuses themselves. In each post, staff and students from the campus answer a few provided questions, so you can learn about what makes each of Penn State’s campuses unique and read information about them that you might not find anywhere else! Next up, Penn State Harrisburg.

Penn State Harrisburg

What are some of the unique academic and/or research opportunities at Harrisburg?
Penn State HarrisburgPenn State Harrisburg offers the first two years of over 160 Penn State majors, as well as 33 baccalaureate degrees for completion. Additionally, Harrisburg offers 24 masters, 3 doctoral, 2 associates, and 2 recently created, integrated baccalaureate to master’s programs in American Studies and Computer Science.

Our proximity to the state capital and to a vibrant hub of varied markets and industries affords our students many opportunities for involvement in community service, internships, fellowships, and mentoring programs – all experiences that extend learning beyond the classroom. This includes student-faculty research opportunities at the nearby Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

What is your favorite place on campus, and why?

Proud Penn Stater Wismith Geffrand Jr. is very involved at Harrisburg and loves his campus!

Proud Penn Stater Wismith Geffrand Jr. is very involved at Harrisburg and loves his campus!

Wismith Geffrand Jr., pronounced “Wizz-Smith”, is a senior majoring in Electrical Engineering Technology. He is originally from Newark, NJ and moved to Northeast Pennsylvania with his family several years ago. He started out his first 2 years at Penn State Hazleton. He is a Lion Ambassador, works as an RA living on campus for summer session, and is also taking an evening summer class. Last semester he worked as a Math Tutor (smarty pants!) for the learning center and he has also worked for Stacks Market, our main dining facility.

“I would have to say my favorite place on campus is the Community Center. Working for residence life has opened my horizons to all different kinds of people. Being in the Community Center, I meet different types of people almost every day. It’s always great to find someone new to interact with and also be a helpful hand to them. Several events are held throughout the semester, and it gives students the opportunity to come together to be social and have a good time.”

As highlighted by Wismith, the Community Center is a favorite place for students because of the amenities and activities available to them. This includes a pool table, table tennis, computer access, multiple gaming systems, and board games. Many social events are held at the Community Center throughout the year, such as movie nights, ice cream socials, and other entertainment.

Please share a unique historical aspect of or a fun fact about Harrisburg.
Harrisburg-libraryWe actually have two! Harrisburg has the second largest library in the PSU system, which helps to make Penn State the 9th largest research library in North America! Our three-story library holds more than 700 seats and includes more than 100 computers, 15 study group rooms, and a media production area that includes podcasting “whisper booths.”

Another fun fact is that Penn State Harrisburg was originally operated as the Olmsted Air Force Base until 1966, when it was acquired by Penn State for a whopping $1 because of the University’s land-grant mission. Some of the original buildings built by the Air Force have been renovated throughout the years. This includes the main building on campus that also shares the Olmsted name.

What is the favorite hang out of students? What is their favorite off-campus activity?
Harrisburg-campus“I know when it’s nice and warm out because our “QUAD” area is a common area to hang out. It’s the area that is the center of our dorm halls. As you walk past, students are either playing football, Frisbee, or other games. You often see students studying or socializing on the bench areas that are provided for us. There is also an indoor pool students can easily access during open swim, which is nice to relax or swim a few laps. When it comes to off-campus activities, there are many things to do locally.” –Wismith

Penn State Harrisburg’s close proximity to various tourist destinations is a also great perk. Hershey, or the “sweetest place on Earth,” is 15 minutes from campus and offers student favorites such as Hershey Park, Chocolate World, Hershey Outlets, the Giant Center Entertainment venue, and many restaurants.

Our close proximity to other destinations is also appealing:

  • Gettysburg National Battlefield: 45 minutes
  • Ski Roundtop Mountain Resort: 30 minutes
  • Harrisburg Senators Baseball/City Island: 10 minutes
  • State College: 1 hour and 50 minutes
  • Lancaster County: 35 minutes
  • Philadelphia: 1 hour and 50 minutes
  • Baltimore, Maryland: 1 hour and 30 minutes

What activities are students involved in at Harrisburg? What are some of the highlights of the organizations?

“Students are involved in so many things on campus. For example, I am a member of Lion Ambassadors, the merchandise chair for THON, and I work with Residence Life as an RA. One of the highlights for our THON organization is that the Harrisburg campus came in 3rd place this year within the commonwealth campuses and raised over $50,000. Other great yearly events include Carnival for a Cure, Blue & White Society Bon Fire, Bathtub Races, Stuff-A-Plush, Spring Luau, and many more.” –Wismith

Getting involved is important as a college student. It’s the best way to make friends that have similar interests, but it also gets you networking. Employers pay close attention to involvement activities beyond the classroom. Having an abundance of outside the classroom experiences makes you more resourceful and more likely to have enhanced communication skills. Penn State Harrisburg offers over 50 clubs and organizations with which students can get involved. Click here to see the full list!

Who do you consider a “Campus Face to Know” and why?

Rahsaan Carlton, the Director of Athletics, is a face to know at Harrisburg.

Rahsaan Carlton, the Director of Athletics, is a face to know at Harrisburg.

Rahsaan Carlton is the Director of Athletics at Penn State Harrisburg. Since his arrival in August of 2005, the intercollegiate athletics program at Penn State Harrisburg has grown significantly. Carlton heads a 12-sport varsity program, which competes at the Division III level. Most recently, he led the athletic teams to begin competition in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) in the 2013-14 academic year.

“This is a great fit for our college. Our student athletes have excelled in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) and this move will only help to enhance our athletic programs. The CAC has a history of great competition and we look forward to developing new relationships and rivalries with the member schools.”

Current CAC members include Frostburg State University, the University of Mary Washington, Marymount University, Salisbury University, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Wesley College, and York College of Pennsylvania.

Carlton also actively monitors the athletic department’s initiatives relative to student-athlete welfare, equity, and sportsmanship. Carlton serves an active role on several committees including the Minority Opportunities and Interest Committee, the Big Ten Advisory Commission, Penn State University’s Athletics Council for Diversity and Inclusion, the John McClendon Award Selection Committee and the NCAA’s Ethnic Minorities and Women’s Enhancement Selection Committee. Carlton earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Management from Penn State University (1997) and Master of Health Education from Penn State Harrisburg (2010). Carlton was a former men’s basketball player at Penn State University from 1993 to 1997, was a 3-year starter, and served as the team’s captain his senior year.

Click here to learn more about Penn State Harrisburg Intercollegiate Athletics programs.

Thank you Penn State Harrisburg!

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