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Old Main Bell Gets Digital Upgrade

For a university with an exorbitant relationship with tradition, the creeping tentacles of modernization have claimed yet another victim in the fight to keep Our Dear Old State, well, old.

The sweet organic chimes of the Old Main Bell have been replaced with a cheesy, almost ringtone-esque ripoff that jars you out of the normal, hazy, walk between classes. What happened to those churchy chimes the Penn State community has grown to love as a constant reminder that we’re late as hell to class?

In an attempt to save some of the historical integrity of the class gift of 1904, the original bell toll was digitally recorded for use in a new, computer-operated sound system. Beside that harsh infomercial jingle every 15 minutes, the high-tech PA system is capable of jamming out the Alma Mater, “Hail to the Lion,” and the iconic Nittany Lion roar, according to The Daily Collegian‘s write-up. According to my own wishful thinking, the digital system is also capable of auto-tuning all of the aforementioned chimes as well as providing a constant Pandora playlist across campus.

However, now when I’m being alerted of my tardiness by the Old Main Bell, the synthesized toll doesn’t offer the same traditional, collegiate feel offered by a real metallic chime. The bell’s advancement into the digital age gives off a Bicentennial Man vibe that just really freaks me out.

What’s next, an android Nittany Lion mascot? Or the actual Old Main Bell being replaced by @OldMainBell on Twitter.




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