Day: February 1, 2010

A Tale of Two Handbooks

After reading the Collegian's editorial about the UPUA's plans for a freshman student handbook, I was more than a little confused. I felt that some of the criticism that the Collegian levied was spot-on, but surely the final design of the handbook would be superior to a "Web site that would accumulate all the links and information that freshman students ... would find very useful." I mean, sure, we'd be out 21,000 dollars, but put to good use, that money could create one hell of a sweet handout. "Put to good use" is clearly the important phrase in that sentence.

To find out a little more about the design and intent of the Freshman handbook, I emailed Samantha Miller, who is the Director of Assembly Services for the UPUA. Samantha is spear-heading the Freshman Handbook initiative, so she knows a little bit about what they are going for. Read on for the questions and responses.

Spend Spring Break in Haiti!

With Spring Break just over a month away, I’m sure many of you are just beginning your base tans and stocking up on suntan lotion. Destination: anywhere warmer than Happy Valley. Haven’t found that “hot spot” yet? Check this out! A group of Penn State students is trying to spend their Spring Break in Haiti, serving as volunteers wherever needed. Very cool.

Now I know what you’re thinking; “How am I supposed to spit game or check out slam-pieces in Haiti?” Let’s be real, we can do that any day here at school. Besides, if that’s really your attitude, you probably have no shot with a real girl anyways. We’ve all seen news reports and pictures of the devastation in Haiti recently. You might’ve caught yourself asking, “How can I help?” I think it’s safe to say your “huge biceps” will be put to better use there than on an overcrowded beach. The trip will tentatively take place March 5/6-13/14. All you need is a passport, a little suitcase, and a big heart.

Interested? More details can be found on the link posted above. A meeting scheduled to discuss and finalize more details will take place next Sunday, February 7th at the Beta House at 220 N. Burrowes.

Colbert Still In Running For Naming Contest

Remember the movement to name the new science undergraduate student center in Ritenour after Stephen Colbert? It's picking up momentum: S. Colbert is one of five names on the nomination list for online voting. Clever acronyms aside (in this case, it's Science Center Of Learning: Bringing Educational Resources Together), it's likely that the school will need an overwhelming landslide to justify naming a building after a fake pundit. So get out there and vote!

THON PR’s Big Day

Anybody who has a Twitter account probably knows about the big day that the THON Public Relations committee had on Friday. For the unenlightened, THON PR has been tweeting celebrities for the past few weeks asking them to help get the word out about THON. Their hard work paid off on Friday when Khloe Kardashian, of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, first tweeted about THON. She then promised to tweet back anybody who donated to the philanthropy. Jay Sean and Lindsay Lohan also helped out the cause be retweeting Kardashian's comments. Not surprisingly, this had a huge impact on the number of followers THON had on Twitter as well as hits on

I was able to get a hold of Elyse Adams, PR Overall, who gave me some information about how Khloe helped out THON. "It's extremely exciting to have the support of someone like Khloe. She is helping us spread awareness about THON and pediatric cancer," Adams wrote in an email. She elaborated by saying that, "on Friday, January 29th, @THON gained 1001 followers on Twitter between the hours of 1:29 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. (plus a few hundred more on Saturday)! Our makeshift video to thank Khloe received more than 6,000 hits in one day. And our YouTube channel received more than 5,000 hits."

Read on after the jump for some more statistics from the day.

10 Questions with Greg Gabbard

Greg Gabbard ran City Lights Records on College Ave for 25 years. The record store closed on Saturday to the disappointment of State College music lovers past and present. Hasan stopped by to talk with Greg last week to pick the mind of a man who has done so much for our community's musical inclinations.

What does the future hold for you?
Well that's an interesting question. I am going to have a lot of stock left so for a period of time I will still be selling music. Probably utilizing the internet, the technology I struggled against for the past several years. I do not believe it shouldn't exist, I just like a little variety so I will be utilizing that to sell records, CDs, and everything else I have for sale.

What inspired you to first start City Lights Records?
I was a record collector and loved music and had purchased thousands of records over time. I was about to become an English teacher in high school and a friend of mine says "I will pay you more than that to open up a record store for me". He already had one and wanted another one in another city. I said "I will do that for a little while" and well...its been a little while.

What is a typical day in City Lights Records?
A typical day here is pricing records, pricing CDs, selling records, selling CDs, answering questions about music, about new releases. It involves a lot of speaking so by the end of the day I go home and am very quiet.

If you were a musician in a band, what instrument would you play and why?
I actually was in a band in college and was the singer.

What do you like most about music?
I think my favorite part of the listening experience is the ability of the music to move you emotionally. It is a wonder to me about how much it can move me.

What are your top five albums of all time?
I have never been able to do that. I can say what some of my favorite albums are but it would be difficult for me to rank them because I would end up saying "that's in the top ten, not the top five." I don't think I could live without the Beatles albums, John Coltrane albums, Miles Davis albums, Clash albums, The Jam, The Replacements. Some of the more aggressive music I like. Soul, Reggae....I need something from all genres.

What is City Lights Records relationship with institutions that promote local music?
Help in any way we can. I have always loved to tell people who the best bands in State College are, who they should go to see. They ask me "do you have an alternative band in State College, do you have an alt. country band in State College". I always try to point them in the right direction for that. When clubs have shows I try to advertise as much as I can for the local shows. That is what keeps our community musical so I'll do anything.

Do you have a favorite local hotspot for music?
I was just in one of my favorites last night. I saw our own Dawn Kinnard, a woman who used to live here in town and moved to Nashville and went to London and recorded an album. She is going to record another one in England. We are pretty proud of her and she stopped by last night and played at Zeno's. It was great!

Do you have any advice for upcoming musicians in State College?
Be the best you can be at whatever you do and use your imagination.

If you were a dinosaur, what kind would you be? And why?
A pterodactyl, just to stay out of everybody's way.

Ridin’ with the Popo

You may have spent your Friday night drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana while on the lookout for those pesky police. They're always trying to spoil your fun, right?

To get a policeman's perspective, I tagged along with a university cop while he made his Friday rounds. For security's sake, I can't mention names or places, but here's what happened on my journey to the other side. As students, you may expect police officers to be gruff, handcuff-happy jerks, but Officer X was a wonderful guy. The police don't go out of their way to bust people; they merely strive to keep the students safe, even if that means slapping citations onto a few unlucky law-breakers.

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