CCSG Responds to “How To Survive As A Branch Campus Kid”
Editors Note: This statement is in response to an article called “How To Survive as a Branch Campus Kid” written last week by former Penn State Altoona student Bill DiFilippo. It was left unedited.
We are Central Staff members currently representing the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments (CCSG) organization for the 2013-2014 year. Just to clarify, CCSG represents the ~35,000 students that attend commonwealth campuses not “Branch” Campuses. We are writing on behalf of Commonwealth Students to illuminate some incorrect notions about the University that the “How To Survive as a Branch Campus Kid” article articulates.
Penn State is one University Geographically dispersed throughout the state of Pennsylvania. The University works together with different communities around the state to provide quality education for students everywhere. We recommend eliminating the term “Branch” campus or “Branch” students. These institutions are no longer being referred to as “Branch” campuses of University Park.
There are several of the campuses such as Mont Alto, Lehigh Valley and Harrisburg in which offer majors that University Park does not. For example, the Lehigh Valley Campus offers the Corporate Communications major and University Park does not. Penn State Mont Alto (Previously known as the Pennsylvania school of Forestry), was the First State in Pennsylvania to have a Forestry Program and currently the only campus to have a Forestry Business management major. The Penn State Harrisburg campus has several computer major programs that Penn State University Park does not offer. These previous degree programs are all four-year degrees.
Penn State is a University connected across a state, not a tree. . These campuses are not apart of a tree nor resemble a round metal disk some like to call ‘satellites’. The notion of “main” and “branch” or “satellite” campuses is derogatory because it undermines the unique experiences and locations of the 19 Commonwealth Campuses.
A second unreal statistic, that Bill DiFillippo managed to point out is that 94 percent of Commonwealth campus students -
“drag your ass out of bed, occasionally go to class, eat something, drink, sleep’ cycle that 94 percent of branch campus students are stuck in during their first two years of school.”
As per the article, this is not only insulting to students that attend four-year degree programs at Commonwealth Campuses, but is simply not true to those of us who loved our Commonwealth Campus experience and made use with our time. Campuses, pack their days with club/organization meetings/events, programs and extra-curricular activities, intramural sports, comedy shows, carnivals, fundraisers, pie-your-favorite-facultymember-in-the-face-days, oh yeah… and THON… which all 19 campuses collectively raised over $1,000,000 for this past year. The two+two program the author is hinting at is indeed valuable but the Penn State experience is still a unique experience even if it does not include University Park.
As President of CCSG and member of the UPSSC high ranking professors and faculty have told me in conversation that some of the “hardest working students were students from Commonwealth Campuses.” The percent total is also arbitrary and does not have in citation or reference point for its basis.
Some factual data to correct what was previously released as false information that 60% of Penn State students participate in the two+two program. Administrators and well educated Penn state students know that 2/3 of University Park students at some point attended a Commonwealth Campus. Why don’t we look into our records and find how many professors are teaching us today that originally began at a Commonwealth Campus? Now that would be a fun statistic to find.
The CCSG Vice President Molly Droelle (former Penn State Altoona student) is one of the hardest working individuals I know. This year (and every year) the Central Staff members of CCSG take great pride in where they have come from and their experiences at a Commonwealth Campus. Molly in particular was a dancer at THON (representing Penn State Altoona), the Lion Ambassador president (for Penn State Altoona) and last years Director and co-communicator between THON and each Commonwealth Campus. These accomplishments at the Altoona campus require more than just eating snacks and occasionally going to class.
With great sincerity, I do appreciate the effort to make Commonwealth Campus students aware of programs and activities available to them. I would love to work together to make sure that we can encourage and not discourage students from being vocal about the campus they come from. Penn State students need to know that the statement “We are Penn State” means that a Penn State student is a Penn State student.
Promoting this kind of discourse and discussion can be very beneficial in educating students at University Park and the Commonwealth Campuses about how diverse and Unique this University really is.
We believe that the recommendations and eliminations assumptions should be applied to the article, this would greatly increase the quality and the experience of Commonwealth students who attend University Park and read the article.
We encourage you to take the time to publish these remarks as Bill DiFillippo graciously took the time to publish his. Thank you.