Tips for Students Transferring to University Park

The Office for Student Orientation and Transition Programs held an orientation session on April 12 for students who are getting ready to transfer up to University Park in the fall semester. This hour long session was led by the Director of Student Orientation and Transition Programs, Dan Murphy and the Associate director, DeAnn Martz.

This session was to help prepare students for what to expect in the fall and included tips for when it becomes time to transfer. Altoona students are already used to having to adapt to a new college lifestyle, but when transitioning to University Park it can bring on many more difficulties.

“You know what it means to be a college student, you know what it means to be a Penn State student, but University Park is going to be a little bit different so it’s not uncommon for our students to actually take about a semester to actually make it through that transition personally, academically and socially,” Martz said.

To help with settling into the 7,958 acre campus the Office for Student Orientation and Transition Programs provided a few tips for new students.



  • Choose classes in buildings closer together because the campus is large
  • Use the bus transportation provided (And track where the busses are through the CATA app)
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to facility or advisors
  • Make an effort to get to know your facility (In large classes it can be hard but all faculty have office hours just like on the Altoona campus)
  • Use the University libraries and attend the open house on Sept. 5 and 6
  • Don’t be afraid to use Penn State learning services which is free tutoring for students
  • Connect with Global Programs early if you’re interested in studying abroad
  • Know your tuition cost at
  • Try not to bring a car because parking on campus with a pass is limited to one parking lot near Beaver Stadium
  • Attend the involvement fair but make sure to go with organizations already in mind


The session also included many common issues students run into when they begin their semester at University Park. Murphy mentioned one of the the biggest problems he has seen with students is not managing their finances wisely and he attributes that to something he likes to call “The Chipotle problem”.

“The Chipotle problem… there is never not a line at chipotle and people will eat chipotle three or four times a week which is delicious but is also a 10 to 12 dollar dinner three or four times a week … (your money) just goes more quickly if you’re not watching it very carefully and not being mindful of planning out meals for the week,” Murphy said.

Another common transition issue with students from branch campuses to University park is the “GPA dip.” DeAnn explained some research that shows students who transition to University Park after a branch campus experience a slight drop in their GPA in their first semester. Students usually average a dip of about a half a point drop. This drop is attributed to courses getting more difficult and the significant change in campus life.

DeAnn emphasized, “You’re not alone. It’s probably happening to other people. It doesn’t mean your not prepared, it doesn’t mean you’re not ready to be at University Park. It just means you have to change what your doing a little bit.”

The Office for Student Orientation and Transition Programs hosts several events to help students get accumulated to University Park during Welcome Week and are located at 301 Bank of America Career Services Center University Park, PA 16802 to help students if they need additional resources.


This Week On Campus – April 9th

  • 04/06/18 By Gary M. Baranec Penn State Altoona student Eleni Valavanis kisses a bible held by Estelle Perizak before walking under Christ's tomb during Altoona's Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church's Good Friday evening service. The Greek Orthodox Church follows the Julian calendar which places their holidays after the Catholic Church.

Photos from Penn State Altoona’s Ivyside Dance Performance by Dhruv Patel.

Photos from Greek Orthodox Easter by Gary M. Baranec.

From Pennsylvania to Bolivia!! How the Penn State Altoona Enactus Club Helped an Orphanage During Spring Break

The Penn State Altoona Enactus Club members recently spent their spring break over in Guayaramerín, Bolivia, to help an orphanage open up a coffee shop for the local citizens.

The six students and two faculty members stayed at Andreas Home For Hope And Joy and were there as business students to help with cost analysis of the potential new shop.

“We looked at where their target market would be, if they were in a good location (and if) Brazilians that come across the river to shop at this market near by would be willing to even come stop there, as well as how much a normal citizen of Bolivia would spend on certain products,” said Penn State Altoona sophomore Elissa Calhoun.  

Photo submitted by Elissa Calhoun

The profits of the shop will benefit the orphanage and would provided the owners with a sustainable income and “it would also give the older students of the orphanage the ability to develop not only a strong work ethic but some marketable skills,” said Calhoun.

The biggest problem the Penn State students found during their trip was that many Bolivians don’t drink hot coffee so the students had to reassess the products that this shop would sell. They found that the Bolivians enjoyed smoothies and other cold drinks that they could sell in place of the hot coffee. The profits for these kinds of drinks are feasible and Calhoun said that now “It’s just a matter of them getting the shell up and figuring out where to go from there.”

This was the club’s first trip to Bolivia and the members plan to make annual returns to the site to help the owners Gary and Jerri Zimmerman of Love In Action International Ministries with other projects.

Photo submitted by Elissa Calhoun

“There’s a lot of opportunities so whether or not it’s focusing on this cafe right now there’s a lot that our organization can still do

with them,” said Calhoun.

The Enactus club members will also present their research at the Enactus National Exposition in Kansas City, Miss on May 20 along with their other projects they’ve worked on this year called Jazzed About Java, Trash to Table, and Don’t waste it! Compost it!.


2018 THON Experiences In The Eyes of Two Penn State Altoona Students

This year Penn State’s THON raised $10,151,663.93 to help fight against childhood cancer, beating last year’s number of $10,045,478.44.

Penn State Altoona Students, Charles English and Angela Azevedo experienced the full 46 hour dance marathon at the Bryce Jordan Center Feb 16-18.

Azevedo described the experience as “very draining” but also said “it’s the best experience, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I would definitely stand 46 hours again.”

Over 700 dancers attended this years THON on the BJC floor and hundreds more spectators attended in the stands.

Azevedo mentioned how a downside of being limited to a spectator is having to deal with the temptation of sitting. If you’re not on the floor or walking around the concession stands the event staff tries to keep the stair aisles clear. This causes flooding of people in the rows of seats. Azevedo mentioned there’s not much room to dance or move but if you end up sitting it can cause problems.

“I would think that it’s harder even with sitting because the pain makes you stay awake. Without the pain you’ll fall asleep” Azevedo said.

The most difficult part of THON for English was that security only allows each person to bring one drawstring bag into the BJC. To help that problem English said he “brought several pairs of clothes… some I wore on then I took them off as soon as I got to THON” to save room in his bag. English recommends “whenever you feel tired go change” to get the feeling of being refreshed.

The most common problem throughout THON with spectators and dancers is fatigue and swollen ankles so Azevedo and English recommend a few items to bring with you to help you last the full 46 hours.

Recommendations include to:

  • Drink water and then gatorade to boost your electrolytes
  • Bring vitamins to boost your energy when you get too tired
  • Always stay moving (even swaying back and forth will help)
  • Bring a tennis ball to massage your feet
  • Bring a different pair of shoes to change in and out of
  • Bring a portable charger so you can keep taking pictures and videos
  • Bring soap, deodorant, your toothbrush, and baby wipes to wash up in the bathroom
  • Change the time on your watch or phone so you don’t actually know what time it is (this will make it easier to keep going)
  • If you leave THON at any point come about four hours early to get back into the BJC since the lines are long and their is a maximum capacity limit.

Besides bringing items to THON to help you stay awake English mentioned one key to surviving the 46 hours is the energy of the arena.

“What keeps you wanting to go is the people around… everyone’s here for one cause and one purpose. Everyone’s here for the kids” English said.

“At the moment people sometimes forget about the cause because they are in so much pain. They want to just sit down, they want to forget about it, they just want to go home, they don’t care”, Azevedo said. “But once those final four (hours) hit no one regrets it… you can’t even describe it unless your there … in the end it’s just happiness.”

To donate to THON 2019 you can visit and help fight against childhood cancer.