UROC on Thursday | Coffee Hour on Friday with Roger Downs | Tailgate grid map


Climate Change Worlshop panel and organizers

A Climate Change Workshop, sponsored by SWIG and created as a UROC project, was held on Nov. 9. Pictured are the expert panelists with the UROC trio who created the workshop (left to right): Richard Alley, Andrew Carleton, Janet Swim, Michael Mann, Michelle Ritchie, Kathryn Jordan, and Kelly Meehan. Photo: Jacklyn Weier


EMS Undergraduate Poster Competition will be held Wednesday, Nov. 28, on the ground floor of Deike Building from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Awards will be announced on Thursday, Nov. 29, at 12:30 p.m. in the Ryan Family Student Center.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Connection (UROC) student presentations will be on Thursday, Nov. 30 at 5:30 p.m. in 319 Walker Building. Cameron Franz, Kathryn Jordan, Kelly Meehan, Kayla Bancone, Zhaogeng Ding, Shelby Duncan, and Samantha Matthews will talk about the projects they have been working on with their graduate student mentors. Learn about their research projects and how to get involved in UROC.

Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU) geography honor society induction immediately precedes Coffee Hour on Friday., Nov. 30. Coffee Hour refreshments will be offered at 3:15 p.m. and the program starts at 3:45 in 112 Walker Building. Please join us to share in this special ceremony.

Alex Klippel’s research on the value of virtual field trips was featured in an article in the Wall Street Journal [paywall].


Roger Downs
Shaping Children’s Geographic Worlds: The Role of Free-Range Parenting

Children play a surprisingly minor role in geographic scholarship, given that of the 325.7 million US residents in 2017, 76.7 million or 23.6% are under the age of 18. The debate over free-range parenting (FRP) presents an opportunity to explore factors that shape children’s geographic worlds.

  • Friday, Nov. 30
  • 3:15 p.m. in 319 Walker Building, Coffee and refreshments
  • 3:45 in 112 Walker Building, Gamma Theta Upsilon geography honor society induction ceremony
  • 4:00 in 112 Walker Building, Lecture
  • Coffee Hour To Go Webcast


grid map booklets

Geographers create unique wayfinding tool for game day safety

Collaboration with University Police and Public Safety yields tailgate grid map

When fans are tailgating before a Penn State home football game, they are standing on an invisible safety grid that helps first responders to pinpoint any location within more than 1,900 acres of pastures and paved lots.

Thanks to a new coordinate grid system developed by Penn State geographers, Penn State University Police and Public Safety and State College police, any 12.5-yard square location can be efficiently communicated to first responders by use of a simple alphanumeric code. The grid overlays a series of maps of the parking lots that surround Beaver Stadium and were compiled into a booklet.

Help SWIG sponsor a family this holiday season

For the last few years, SWIG has committed to sponsoring a family through the Centre County Women’s Resource Center (now called Centre Safe) Holiday Sponsorship Program. The Program connects sponsors with a local family (or families) of women and children who have experienced domestic violence. This year, SWIG is sponsoring a family of three (a mother and two children, ages 7 years and 9 months). We are targeting to raise $250 to fulfill our commitment to the Program. We hope you will consider donating to our efforts! You may drop off donations to Ruchi Patel’s office (328 Walker Building), the collection envelope in her mailbox (304 Walker Building), or via Venmo @ruchpate (comment “Holiday gift basket” please). We will be collecting donations through Friday, Dec. 7.


An Inclusive Treadmill? Expansion of Industrial Maize Farming and Simple‐Commodity Producers in Turkey

Borlu, Y. and Matthews, S. A.
Rural Sociology
The growth of industrial maize farming in Turkey during the first decade of this century points to the primacy of economic development over ecological concerns at a time when global nitrogen and phosphorus flows already exceeded safe limits. In this article we focus on the relations of production as the driver of an economic sector that not only has ecological but also social costs. Through a trend analysis of maize yields as our ecological indicator, we explain how relations of production influence industrial maize farming in this period and how different modes of production (e.g., simple‐commodity producers) participate in a corporate market. A “treadmill of production” perspective argues that simple commodity producers are excluded from industrial treadmills. Our findings indicate that provinces with predominantly simple commodity production experienced significant increases in maize yields and adapted to the industrial maize treadmill. However, there is a significant difference between simple‐commodity producers and large farms that widens over the decade. Our results suggest that simple‐commodity producers are included in ecologically harmful economic practices with significant obstacles. We call for a revision of the assumed relationship between the size of economic operations and their ecological impacts in the critical sociology literature and policy approaches.

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