[Live Blog] 2014 State of State Conference

The inaugural State of State conference will bring together community leaders and thinkers for a day of discussion about Penn State issues to create dialogue about the present and future of our university. It all starts this morning at 10:30 a.m. in Alumni Hall.

Live Stream

Live Blog

3:57 p.m. That’s all from State of State 2014! What a fantastic inaugural event — and has host Christian Heilman said, “The conversation doesn’t stop here.”

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3:30 p.m. Panichelli is also talking about the movement toward open educational resources to help save money on textbook prices. He wants to incentive professors to use OERs and help students save money by investing within and have faculty write their own textbooks to create a library of open resources. This would effectively take the textbook companies out of the equation.

“Instead of tuition, which  is obviously a very complex issue that we don’t really have much  say in right now, we’re going to talk about something that we do have control over — textbooks. If you didn’t know,  the average student in the United States spend $1,207 on textbooks every single year. In addition to that, textbook costs, according
to the government accountability office, have risen 82% in the past ten years.”

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3:26 p.m. Panichelli is talking about engaged scholarship and the value of out of classroom learning experiences. “We need to start now; we can’t just talk about it.”

“When you have a university as large as Penn State, it’s very difficult to scale engaged scholarship across the commonwealth to 98,000 students. When we’re talking about engaged scholarship…it’s about going out in our communities, and our 19 Commonwealth campuses, and isolating individual ways that we can participate in engaged scholarship.”

3:23 p.m. UPUA Speaker Anthony Panichelli will be the final speaker of State of State 2014, speaking about what a Penn State education will look like in 20 years.

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3:20 p.m. Burlingame is talking about co-curricular activities and personally-created curriculum, and how out of classroom experiences contribute to the educational experience. He wants to find away to integrate digital learners into the Penn State system.

“How can Penn State ensure that that growing population of World Campus students will have the opportunities to connect with the co-curriculum?” Burlingame asked. “Those of you who are student leaders here, think about what you might do to engage those students in your own organizations, and the kinds of things that you’re involved in…How can we do a good job increasing distant learners in the Penn State co-cirricular?”

“No one here has pointed out a moment in a classroom that is their most meaningful learning experience….Think about leaving here with more than a degree. Think about leaving here with an education.”

3:12 p.m. Philip Burlingame, the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, to talk about how students can develop more agency in their own learning.

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3:07 p.m. Long’s presentation is focusing on the fact that it would cost $201 if you took a 10 year loan out on the GenEd portion of the Penn State curriculum.

“We need to recognize that as an institution we to build this into our curriculum, because it will be what separates us from others,” Long said. “It will be what separates you as students from others. It’s going to be what makes $201 a real bargain when you get the job of your dreams and have a lifetime of earning to go along with it.”

2:59 p.m. Associate Dean Chris Long is up now to talk about GenEds and its reform a Penn State as the fifth and final set of speakers is underway.

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2:40 p.m. Mendum is talking about personal development.

“There are many things to be done out there in the world and big problems to be solved, but we need to have the self-knowledge into our talents and into our desires.”

2:32 p.m. Ruth Mendum, the Director of the University Fellowships Office, is up next.

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2:27 p.m. Sophomore Alex DiStefano, a Nittany Lion Fund manager, is talking about project based learning and utilizing teaching assistants more effectively.

“We have become so obsessed with grades, and we’ve lost the value in college,” DiStefano says. “No one comes in saying, ‘I want to graduate with a good education. I want to graduate saying I know my major inside and out.'”

2:22 p.m. Bérubé says the going to college still makes sense financially, despite growing costs.

“College is still worth it,” Bérubé said. “You don’t need to major in a field that people tell you is employable. Liberal arts degrees will enhance your learning potential over the long term.

2:14 p.m. Sparks professor Michael Bérubé is up next to talk about the perils of state funding decreases.

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1:53 p.m. McGregor compels all Penn Staters to tell our story, and fulfill Penn State’s virtues through our actions.

“What can I as one person or we as a few people do to help our University?” McGregor said. “I want to challenge everyone here to do more — to take more bold, focused, and audacious action. We must fight against the ability to just cruise, or to just settle for good when great is out here.”

“The coolest things that I ever find are when I hear that story about somebody doing something great in the world, and oh, yeah, they’re a Penn Stater, or I turn on the television and I see a national championship and yep, Penn State is in the lead.”

“We write the next chapter of this Penn State story with our souls. We write the next chapter of the Penn State story with our lives.”

1:46 p.m. Former Penn State QB Shane McGregor is speaking now at State of State. He is comparing his experiences during the Sandusky scandal to the movie “Dark Knight Rises.”

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1:40 p.m. For Rob Nellis, there were two parts that he enjoyed most about being the Nittany Lion mascot for two years. He loved the high adrenaline moments, like when he was on the stage for the total reveal at THON and on the field before football games. But he also enjoyed the personal interactions he had with the Penn State community.

“The Lion is not only the University mascot but also a symbol. A symbol of positivity,” Nellis said. “”The Lion encompasses and embodies the entire University, and the entire sense of pride in the university. And only the best parts of it.”

1:31 p.m. Former Nittany Lion mascot Rob Nellis is set to talk about the role of mascots, symbols, and individual identifies during scandal.

12:13 p.m. “Diversity prepares students for future career success. Diversity enhances self-awareness. Diversity enriches the multiple perspectives,” Ajibola said. “If you want to be that silly guy out in the HUB making a fool of yourself, be that guy. But if you’re going to be the person who doesn’t like that guy, go up to them. You have that option.”

12:07 p.m. Senior Abiola Ajibola is up next to talk about diversity within the Penn State community. He referenced the #HUBisNotAPlayground situation as an example of miseducation of diversity among all races.

“When that Tweet went out, I said ‘This is bad because the black community is going to cause a lot of problems because of what they’re going to do to this female,'” Ajibola said. “She was not ignorant…she was just miseducated.”

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12:05 p.m. Turner is discussing ways the LGBT community can improve the divides within it.

“There’s just as much racism and sexism within the LGBT community,” Turner said. “The LGBT community challenges gender roles in ways the general community may not.”

11:57 a.m. Junior Bret Turner is up next to talk about internalized discrimination within Penn State’s LGBT community, and how there are so many misconceptions and inequality of acceptance toward different parts of the community.

“Sexuality is a spectrum, and bisexual people often face discrimination,” Turner said. “These people are being marginalized.”

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11:55 a.m. Guo believes there needs to be more informal dialogue between cultures at Penn State — dialogue that can be sparked by just asking each other questions.

“When you see those co-cultural groups, they should be celebrated because they are one piece of this beautiful mosaic,” Guo said. “Integration just starts with one simple question from you to me.”

11:49 a.m. Senior Jackie Guo kicks off the second set and international student integration at Penn State.

“I had run so far toward assimilation that I never looked back. I looked Asian but I never felt it,” Guo said. “International students think that their success is based on how American they become — and that’s simply not true.”

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11:30 a.m. The first set is over and the 250+ attendees are discussing the first speakers in small groups.

11:20 a.m. Garguilo is criticizing Penn State’s leadership for not being genuine in their marketing approach.

“People are calling on the university to be transparent and open — and then they launch and say ‘Here, we’re transparent.’ There’s a difference between saying you’re transparent and being transparent.”

Anyone who follows Garguilo on Twitter knows the particular ire he feels toward the Penn State Lives Here campaign — that point was made clear with a tongue-in-cheek applause for marketing group Pulse Point.

“The Penn State administration decided, ‘How do we want to say what Penn State is? Let’s just paint Penn State Lives Here on the side of a barn and hang up a sign on a building.’ I think because of stupid lists like this, made by phony people like these — this is not the Penn State I know and love.”

“They came back with a list, and said this is Penn State’s DNA. Nine bullet points that can really be said about any organization in the world….We need to be honest and true, and we need to call out leadership that’s not…welcome to the new era.”

11:12 a.m. Former TEDxPSU curator and Blue Band president Steve Garguilo is up next to talk about marketing campaigns, and what works and what doesn’t — particularly, the Penn State Lives Here campaign.

“Being genuine really is the most important thing,” Garguilo said. “Unfortunately, it seems like the Penn State administration is still trying to live in the scripted shouting era.”

“Franklin just came here and said he’s going to Dominate the State, and it grew because it was real and he just said it and he was honest,” Garguilo said. “Why are Bill O’Brien and James Franklin revered in this community? It’s because they’re real and genuine and we want to follow them. Who wants to follow some sleepy, airbrushed academic?”

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11:11 a.m. Coppersmith is talking about town and gown relations from a historical perspective, from student housing, industry, and commerce. She talks about a tumultuous past that has only improved with collaborative efforts between both parties.

“I’m a busy person, but this is an important day to me,” Coppersmith said. “Encampment was the first effort to bring town and gown together in a retreat-like setting to talk and listen about our challenge going forward and our capacity to seize the moment collaborate.”

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11:02 a.m. Introduced as “the woman who knows a lot about everything” by event host Christian Heilman, former Penn State trustee and longtime community presence Mimi Barasch Coppersmith is now speaking.

10:59 a.m. Gregory is discussion what she calls “mission creep” — which is essentially when organizations begin to focus on THON instead of the mission of their organization. She mentions four main points as a call to action:

  • Thinking beyond how to make THON better.
  • Valuing your mission.
  • Preserving Penn State.
  • Talk and think critically about the effects.

10:56 a.m. Emma Gregory, a Penn State student involved in Thespians and THON, is talking about the effect THON and its size has had on the community.

“That’s why it’s so hard to talk about THON…because I love it so much,” Gregory said. “When somebody would criticize it, I would say ‘You don’t get it.’ And the conversation would stop right there…We have to break down these walls in order to ask the questions we need to ask.”

“For those of us who are really emotionally invested like I am, perhaps we should step back and think about it objectively.”

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10:48 p.m. Richards believes that the ability to follow is just as important as the ability to lead.

“Talking is important, but listening is more important,” Richards said. “We talk about leadership, but don’t talk about followship…and most of us are following most of the time…I like to listen to ideas that are contrary to my own.”

10:41 p.m. Penn State’s most un-learny professor Sam Richards is the first ever State of State speaker, or as be put it it — “I’ve been waiting 24 years for this to happen… And I get to be the first person to say that.”

Richards is talking about the critical interaction between faculty and students, and how diversity is imperative to decision making.

“International students are just as Penn State proud as students from Pennsylvania, and their voices need to be brought out.”

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 10:37 p.m. State of State co-directors Suzanne Zakaria and Patrick Boynton are getting things kicked off this morning before the first speaker, professor Sam Richards.

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About the Author

Kevin Horne

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014 and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus, which is a fake title he made up. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is also the president of the graduate student government. Email: [email protected]

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