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[Photo Story] Penn State’s 2020 In Photos

2020 hasn’t been a picture-perfect year by any means.

It was mostly filled with loss and sadness, and with heavy doses of stress, anxiety, and fear of the unknown mixed in between. In just a month, the coronavirus pandemic derailed our spring semester and sent the world into a tailspin.

Despite 2020’s hardships, Penn State adapted to unprecedented times. Our talented visual staff captured many of the highs and lows of this year and couldn’t help showing off some of its favorite shots.

January: New Year, Same Weather

George Liu | Onward State

Despite 2020 beginning a new decade, State College weather began the year with its same old tricks. A chilly snowstorm blew over campus in January, blanketing Old Main and the HUB Lawn with white powder. Students threw caution to the wind, forgetting about schoolwork for a few minutes to play football and go sledding.

February: Journeying Together

THON Weekend 2020 did not disappoint. With surprise performances by Daya and Cash Cash, an electrifying Pep Rally, and a grand fundraising total of $11,696,943.38, the event was easily the highlight of our semester.

March: Madness Is Near

The post-THON momentum was high. Penn State men’s basketball was poised to appear in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nine years, and the school embraced its newfound “basketball school” label with open arms.

April: Empty Streets, Empty Hearts

And just like that, it was gone. Two weeks of spring break turned into two months, and Penn Staters were sent online to finish the semester at Zoom University. Downtown State College naturally became a ghost town.

May: Graduation, But Online!

As the world adapted to the new pandemic-enforced reality, life went on. Seniors ventured out of lockdown to (safely) take graduation photos and celebrate as best as they could before taking part in a virtual commencement.

June: Peaceful Protests

Teagan Staudenmeier | Onward State

Following the police killing of George Floyd, hundreds of community members took to the streets of State College to protest racial injustice and police brutality. Events organized by State College’s 3/20 Coalition have continued those efforts throughout the year.

July: Nittany Lion Shrine Receives A Facelift

Sam Brungo | Onward State

Renovations on The Symbol of Our Best started in June and finished in July, fixing up its broken ear and giving it a much-needed pampering.

August: Students Return, Embrace The Weird

Students returned to campus after a long five-month hiatus in August. Mask mandates, social distancing requirements, and a brand-new coronavirus testing program gave us hope that maybe Penn State could make it through the semester against all odds.

September: We Are…Back

On September 16, the Big Ten reinstated its fall 2020 football season, and Penn State celebrated the return in a big way. For the first time in forever, Penn State fans had something to be excited about.

October: Football Returns To Beaver Stadium

Shannon Soboslay | Onward State

Penn State football kicked off its first home game on Halloween night. Although fans could not be in attendance, cardboard cutouts were treated to a frightening affair (read: the Nittany Lions lost badly!).

November: Election Day In Centre County

The 2020 general election was one of the most talked-about elections in history. Students showed out in droves to vote, with lines at the Bryce Jordan Center beginning at 7 a.m.

December: Finish How You Started

Sam Brungo | Onward State

In early December, a massive snowstorm dumped buckets of snow over Centre County. Despite all of the change we experienced this year, 2020 decided to go out the same way it began.

Now that 2020 is in the rear-view mirror, we can only hope that 2021 will be a better year. Goodbye, 2020. You will NOT be missed.

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About the Author

Alysa Rubin

Alysa is a junior majoring in journalism, and is Onward State's assistant visual editor. She was born in Connecticut and raised in Delco, PA (sup, John Harrar?) Alysa loves long walks (to her fridge), fun socks, and Philly sports. You can also find Alysa behind her camera during most hours of the day. During the summer of 2021, Alysa spent a summer on Cape Cod as a photographer, and it became her entire personality. Follow @arubin241 on Twitter to keep up with what she sees through her lens (and for a funny retweet or two.)


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