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.


Clash of the Cultures Fashion Show

This past weekend on Saturday, April 7, the Clash of the Cultures fashion show occurred. The doors to the event opened at 3 p.m. and the event started at 4 p.m. and took place in the Adler building. It was about three and a half hours that was filled with amazing fashion walked by 23 people.

The Clash of the Cultures fashion incorporated two different types of cultures, African and Caribbean. There were eight fashion scenes and four dance scenes. The African Student Association (ASA), Black Student Union (BSU), and Caribbean Student Association (CAS) all took part in either the fashion scenes, dance scenes, or both.

The African Student Association had five scenes that included flags of Africa scene, couple scene, traditional scene, bathing suit scene, and urban scene. The Black Student Union only had one scene which was throwback fashion. The last group is the Caribbean Student Association, and they had three scenes, Carribeans, Crochet, and Carnival. Then each organization had their own styles of dance scenes incorporated.

Overall the event was successful and the turnout was great; hopefully there will be another fashion show next year for all those that couldn’t come out.

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!.