‘Cedar State’ Aims To Build Community Of Content Creators At Penn State

One Penn State freshman is trying to enhance his college experience while building a platform to show off the Penn State community and its culture.

Mason Koma is an industrial engineering major from Mars, Pa., a small town right outside of Pittsburgh. In high school, Koma had a passion for filmmaking, so he took classes in broadcast and film production. When he arrived at Penn State, Koma knew filmmaking was something he wanted to do on the side.

And thus, “Cedar State” was born.

Koma founded Cedar State at the beginning of the fall semester and has amassed a following of more than 800 followers on Instagram and nearly 1 million likes on TikTok and 50,000 followers.

“The whole goal here is trying to make a community,” Koma said.

Cedar State’s social media pages include interviews, skits, and other content meant to show campus and student life at Penn State. Koma said he decided to pursue the idea to start Cedar State as a way to enhance his freshman experience at Penn State amid the coronavirus pandemic. He settled on the phrase, “Don’t just talk about it,” as the motto for his new social media venture.

“I know a lot of kids that talk about their ideas and never pursue them,” Koma said. “This semester, I’ve been posting a lot, talking to people, and it’s been working out great. Doors are swinging wide open, and opportunities are there.”

In the short amount of time Cedar State has been around, Koma’s social media pages have been gaining traction. The main focus so far has been man-on-the-street type interviews, but Koma has started branching out into different ideas, such as Cedar State’s own version of “Impractical Jokers” in the HUB.

Most notably, Koma and his friends set up a massive snowball at East Halls right after freshmen returned to campus in February for the spring semester.

Koma got the idea from students at Kent State who did something similar. He and his friends used simple marketing techniques and social media to spread the word. Koma’s roommate approximated there were 150 kids at the snowball fight.

“It was a great moment that brought East [Halls] together,” Koma said.

When making content for Cedar State, Koma said he uses it as a way to break up the monotony that comes with being an industrial engineering major.

“I often study or do work for 30 minutes, then take a break with some video editing,” Koma said. “It’s a good way to break everything up.”

Koma has a team of friends and other Penn State creators who share the same passion as him and want to help him pursue his mission.

When it comes to other social media accounts and the way people market Penn State, Koma thinks people rely too much on sports, especially football. He feels Cedar State is a way to show off other aspects of Penn State culture.

The content of Cedar State’s social media pages is the type of content most college kids would experience. With that comes some inappropriate content that some viewers may find offensive. In Koma’s eyes, it’s content that college kids want to see that comes from the environment that college is.

“College life isn’t the cleanest in the big aspect,” Koma said. “Kids are used to that type of talk, especially on other social media pages and platforms.”

Still, Cedar State attempts to make a positive impact in the Penn State community. It recently partnered with One For One Cooking, a weekly meal service run by Penn State student Nick Cradler where all proceeds are donated toward fighting global food insecurity. Koma mentioned his interest in future partnerships with Penn State students, organizations, and less-covered sports teams to give them a platform to help spread their messages.

Koma also hopes to help film majors at Penn State by giving them a platform.

“I want to help get film majors making videos that they can put up on their portfolios while putting stuff on our account,” Koma said.

All in all, Koma said Cedar State is working to share a positive message in a rough time.

“We look to be positive especially in this time of coronavirus,” Koma said.

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About the Author

Connor Donohue

Connor is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. He hails from the great state of New Jersey and is proud of it. Lover of the greatest city in the world, New York City, he strongly dislikes the city of Philadelphia and will not hesitate to tell you that. He's also been cursed as a Penn State fan since birth. If you want to call him a bum or maybe go out on a date with him, follow him on twitter @ConnorDonohue00 or email him at [email protected]

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