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Seniors Voting for Best of Three Class Gift Proposals

Seniors, you’ve just dropped a small fortune on your Penn State education, and now what does the university want you do to? Give more money in the form of a senior class gift! The bright side: at least you get to choose what the gift is.

The Senior Class Gift Committee unveiled the final three candidates for the Class of 2010 class gift. It is asking all seniors to take a little time out of their busy schedules to vote for one this week either online or in the HUB. You can find out additional information at

Public Sculpture and Class of 2010 Endowed Scholarship
Connected Sculpture“The Class of 2010 would purchase a monumental outdoor sculpture for permanent display and endow an undergraduate scholarship. Currently on loan to the University until fall 2010 and located in the Armsby Quad, ‘Connected’ is an 11-foot high sculpture made from two naturally felled oak trees that have been bolted together and then carved. Created by artist Harry Gordon, this sculpture would add significantly to the visual appeal of campus. The class would also endow a scholarship in the name of the Class of 2010, which would put a Penn State education within reach of students who might not otherwise be able to afford it. Both the scholarship and sculpture would allow students, alumni, and other visitors to ‘connect’ with fellow classmates and their alma mater.”

My take: I’m not one to belittle the arts, but I’ve walked through the Armsby Quad every day since I’ve been at Penn State and never noticed this sculpture. Our campus already has a rich collection of art, and spending a significant amount of money on two dead tree trunks with some metal in them seems wasteful. Oh wait! There’s a scholarship too, great! A couple of students will think of the illustrious Class of 2010 everytime they pass by the statue. My vote (if I were a senior) would not be for this. (ed. note: as someone pointed out on Twitter, the statue also resembles an abstract blow-job.)

FishtanksHUB Aquarium Maintenance Endowment
“The Class of 2010 would establish a long-term maintenance endowment to ensure that funds are available to sustain and perpetuate the HUB aquariums. Established by the Class of 1999, the HUB Aquariums have become a campus landmark and one of the most renowned public displays of its kind in the country. The two aquariums are used for research by students and faculty and act as a showpiece for the community. However, as a living gift, the aquariums operate continuously and require ongoing maintenance and upgrading. Current maintenance funding is almost exhausted and funds are needed for equipment replacement, livestock replenishment, and system monitoring.”

My take: while the HUB fishtanks are an important part of the Penn State atmosphere, I don’t know how I feel about the class gift being simply an extension of another class gift. Don’t we have a marine biology club or something that can maintain the fishtanks?

Marsh Meadow Boardwalk and Overlook at the Arboretum
Arboretum Bridge“The Class of 2010 would establish a boardwalk and overlook across the James J. and Lynn D. Ramage Marsh Meadow in The Arboretum at Penn State, a 370-acre living laboratory. The Marsh Meadow has been seeded with 3-foot high switch grass and edged with trees and shrubs common to wet areas in order to simulate a marsh. The boardwalk would act as the ‘front door’ to the Arboretum from central campus and be an aesthetic feature in its own right, providing a ‘bridge’ over an impassable wet area. This would be a significant gift as 2009-2010 marks the opening of the Arboretum and it would be a highly visible and heavily used feature in the Arboretum landscape.”

My take: This is cool. The Arboretum is a valuable asset for the Penn State community. Having been over there a few times to take pictures, I’ve noticed that it is rather difficult to get to the main pavilion. Adding this bridge to connect the Arboretum and the stretch of Park Avenue across from the Business Building would greatly increase the accessibility of this valuable resource. Plus, bridges are cool.

So those are your options for senior class gift. Is it just me or does it seem like our senior class gift ideas have been getting more lame over the years? Comparing these options to the class gifts of old (1940 – The Lion Shrine, 1903 – Pollock Street Entrance [across from IST building], 1916 – Allen Street Gates), the winning proposals from the past few years seem to be lacking.

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About the Author

Chase Tralka

Chase Tralka is a Senior majoring in Information Sciences and Technology with a minor in Security and Risk Analysis. He is from Northern New Jersey and is involved in far too many organizations to list here. He enjoys photography, cycling, and listening to obscure free jazz music.

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