Better Know a Branch Campus: Penn State Berks

There are 24 campuses in the Penn State system. The one that gets the most attention is University Park, but what about the other 23? That’s where we come in with our newest 23 part series, Better Know a Branch Campus, inspired by Stephen Colbert’s Better Know a District. Next up: Penn State Berks.

Name: Penn State Berks, The Fighting Bs!

Chancellor: Dr. R. Keith Hillkirk

Enrollment: 3,216. Berks is the fifth largest branch campus in the Penn State system.

Location: Depending on whom you ask, Berks is either in Reading or Spring Township, PA. Is this some weird turf war thing? I don’t want to get involved. Regardless, the campus is 65 miles from Philly, 142 miles from State College, and 260 miles from Pittsburgh.

Sports: Berks, like Penn State Abington, competes in the North Eastern Athletic Conference, and is one of the three original members of the NEAC that still compete in the conference. The school offeres 12 varsity sports: baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, and women’s volleyball.

Fun Fact:


History: Prior to being known as Penn State Berks, the school was called the Wyomissing Polytechnic Institute. In 1958, it became a Penn State branch campus, and since then…well..not much. Berks doesn’t have the awesome history of some of the other schools we’ve looked at. Which is unfortunate. Here’s a video of corgis being adorable to make up for it.

Right Now: Berks has 3,216 enrolled students and 170 faculty members — 100  full time. You can go there and 2 + 2 with University Park, or students can get one of the fifteen baccalaureate degrees or eight associates degrees that the school offers.

As for living on campus, the school has two residential areas. One is The Woods Houses,  a community of seven dormitories that are single room suites and double room suites. The other is The Village Suites, which is a community of six halls, which look AWESOME. Based on the floor plan, they’re nicer and bigger than my apartment, so I’m kind of jealous.

Story Time: Two stories this week. Both involve partying. Last week, I said that if you went to Berks, you’d have a good story. Both people do:

“On the last Thursday of my Sophomore year, our neighbor threw a party to celebrate the ascension from the purgatory that is Penn State Berks into the heaven that awaited us at University Park. Word spread quickly about the party because I mean c’mon, it was the only fuckin’ one. The next thing we knew, cops surrounded the entire apartment complex. People who had left the party told others to stay in the house unless they wanted to get arrested. Apparently I wanted to get arrested. Shortly after my roommate and I drunkenly forced our way out of the party a nice policeman shined his light on us and yelled “FREEZE!” Naturally I sprinted back to my house. About a minute later I made it into my house when I realized my roommate was not behind me. A few second later I received a phone call from him. He told me that if I did not come back outside everyone from the party would get an underage drinking citation BUT if I complied with the police we would receive disorderly conducts. Even in my drunk mindset I knew this was was not legal but I also didn’t want to my roommate to get screwed because of my actions. After a brief interrogation, blowing a .14 into the breathalyzer, and receiving a $450 dollar fine we were on our merry way. Weeknight partying due to boredom, overbearing police officers, and a lot of harmless yet illegal activities. This night truly epitomized my two year tenure at Penn State Berks.”

“In the beginning of the semester in ’09, my roommate and I went to a party in Berkshire Hills with some friends we knew who lived in the complex. One thing led to another and my roommate and I were drinking volumes of alcohol (mostly Natty and our old favorite Bankers Club). We were shot gunning and pouring haircuts for everyone. Well my roommate got smashed. Black out, shitfaced drunk like any respectful PSU student should be during the weekend. Next thing I know my roommate comes up to me and tells me that he’s leaving. The kid literally just left by himself. I thought nothing of it because he knew other people living close by. So as I’m meeting up with my ride back to the dorms I kept calling him and texting him. Must have called the kid 50 times and sent him 20 texts. NO ONE heard from him at all. I get a phone call at 4:30 am from my buddy who lives a few buildings down and he tells me that he found my roommate passed out under a tree in his backyard.”

Next Time: Penn State Brandywine. I’ve never met someone who went to Brandywine, so as far as I know, it’s the most magical branch campus of all. You can inform me by emailing me a cool story from when you went there.

Previous Better Know a Branch Campus features: Abington, Altoona, Beaver.

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