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A Slice Of Penn State Life In 1965 As We Open Up The Time Capsule

Housing Operations will reveal the contents of a recently-discovered time capsule tonight and I can’t stop thinking about 1965. It was quite the year in America: The Space Race was heating up, the Vietnam War was escalating, and President LBJ signed the Voting Rights Act into law in an attempt to prohibit racial discrimination while voting.

It’s easy to look in a history book or simply Google “what was life like in 1965?”  but the truly fascinating part of this time capsule is the insight into mundane, day-to-day Penn State life it might provide. I suspect most students weren’t drastically different from today’s undergrads.

At a glance, Rip Engle was enjoying his last year as Penn State’s head coach, cigarettes were everywhere, and apparently the Lion’s Den was a place for “drinking coke.”

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 5.14.50 PM

 Photos: La Vie 1965

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 7.40.54 PMRip Engle’s Nittany Lions

Although 1965 feels like worlds away, the class yearbook is proof that not everything has changed:

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 5.09.11 PM                                                                   Photo: La Vie 1965

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 5.26.36 PM Photo: La Vie 1965

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 7.27.10 PMMy personal favorite discovery from La Vie 1965: Frat dogs.

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 7.30.34 PM“Friendships,” if that’s what you want to call them.

In a way, modern times on college campuses are eerily reminiscent of the sixties —  young adults as outspoken as they are polarized, a vague need to “make America great again,” and maybe even a dash of overstated self-importance. Though its results are certainly debatable, social media has ignited a new form of the activism brand hallmarked by the sixties.

It’s tough to reduce years of your life to the confines of a time capsule buried in East Halls. I can’t decide if the students created the capsule to make a statement or as a lighthearted reminder of how it used to be. Maybe they’re just trolling us from a time when that word didn’t even exist yet — we’ll just have to see what happens. While the element of surprise might be what’s drawing me to this time capsule in the first place, there’s a few artifacts I bet we’ll find tonight:

  • A flyer or something from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech at Penn State that year.
  • A jersey from Penn State’s 1965 football team (hopefully not Jerry Sandusky’s — he was a senior defensive end at the time).
  • Some form of powerful message to today’s undergrads.
  • An ash tray or cigarette paraphernalia (seriously, they smoked a lot).
  • A Daily Collegian from 1965…one I’ll actually read.
  • Something from a fraternity house.

Let us know what you think the time capsule might contain in the comments and stop by Findlay Commons at 6 p.m. to find out what’s actually inside.

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About the Author

Sara Civian

Sara Civian is one of Onward State's three ridiculously good looking managing editors, a hockey writer at heart, and an Oxford comma Stan. She's a senior majoring in journalism, minoring in history, and living at Bill Pickle's Tap Room. Her favorite pastimes are telling people she's from Boston, watching the Bruins, and meticulously dissecting the My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album. She's seen Third Eye Blind live 14 times. If you really hate yourself, you can follow her at @SaraCivian or email her at [email protected]


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