Staff Picks: Our Favorite Penn State Unsung Heroes

As a wise man once said, “It’s the little things that matter most.”

It’s easy to walk across Old Main Lawn or see an OPP truck on the street and think nothing of it, but it’s the little things that make Penn State what it is today.

We asked our staff to stop, smell the roses, and discuss their unsung “heroes” around campus that deserve some love.

Frankie Marzano: Penn State Eats

Penn State Eats may be the most underrated thing on campus. Now, you don’t need to stand in line for an hour to get Starbucks at the library. There’s no more waiting in painfully long lines at the dining halls. Everything is available at your fingertips, and I don’t believe it gets enough love. Luckily, Penn State Eats is here to stay.

Dana Nunemacher: Bill Donovan

Bill Donovan has been my hero since day one at Penn State when I was so overwhelmed and just wanted some Chick-fil-A. Just a few weeks ago, Onward State had the honor to get to talk to Bill. If you don’t know who I am talking about, he is the very kind man that you probably see at the HUB keeping lines in check every weekday.

Bill has seen me at my worst and at my best, and each time, he’s always greeted me with a smile and asked how my day was going. I know I am not the only one who has received this kindness from him, and I hope everyone who has come across Bill appreciates him as much as I do.

Michael Tauriello: The Green Link

Everyone talks about the Blue Loop and White Loop, and occasionally you’ll hear folks talk about the Red Link. But I’ve never heard anyone else stick up for the Green Link, which is the superior CATA route on the north end of campus.

It has all the same stops as the Blue Loop but turns around at Medlar Field on the east end of the route, and continues down Burrowes Road to loop around to North Atherton Street on the west end of the course. You get the best of the Blue Loop and the best of the White Loop condensed into one quick route. There’s nearly no one on the bus, so there’s plenty of room to spread out, too.

Ríco Gore: OPP

As we all already know, the biggest unsung heroes are the men and women of OPP. From trimming the HUB Lawn to keeping our sidewalks clean, OPP is unmatched in its passion. I am eternally grateful for their continued excellence.

Rory Pelella: William C. Clarke

If you ever walk into the Cheese Shoppe on Calder Way (I highly recommend it), you’ll probably find Bill Clarke sitting on a stool next to the coffee roaster, smoking a pipe. If you do, consider yourself lucky. 

Bill is a person who opens his heart to everyone who walks into his shop. That’s the reason why you’ll see the same people go there for a cup of coffee each day like clockwork (It’s the reason why I keep going back). It takes just one conversation with Bill to feel like you’ve made a new friend. And I promise you, you’ll gain something from each and every conversation you have with him.

Bill has been operating his shop on Calder Way and roasting his own coffee for more than 40 years. He has a wealth of knowledge about Penn State and the surrounding community and also serves as a source of wisdom and advice with his many life experiences. There’s no one that cares as much about this town and the people in it (students and locals alike) as him.

Will Pegler: April From Redifer Commons

I don’t know April’s last name, but I know she worked the register at Redifer Commons, and she is an absolute gem. Every morning during my sophomore year (literally every morning), I would grab breakfast from Redifer before my morning classes. After I got my omelet with bacon, cheddar, tomatoes, onions, and a side of tater tots, I’d check out at the register with April.

April always managed to strike up a conversation with every person in line, asking them what they had planned for that day and wishing them luck on any exams or projects they had planned. She always managed to brighten my day and likely anyone else’s in Redifer.

I haven’t seen April, or eaten an omelet from Redifer, for that matter, since we were sent home by the pandemic, but I hope she’s doing well and still spreading that positivity. She’s the definition of an unsung hero at Penn State.

Michael Tauriello (Again): Old Main Clock Lights

You don’t know how much you miss something until it’s gone. The lights shining on Old Main have been dark for a vast majority of the nights through most of the first quarter of 2021. Without them, my night is simply less enjoyable, since I can’t admire what is likely the prettiest sight at night on Penn State’s campus.

Glancing at the Old Main clock lit up at night is an essential part of an evening on campus. Without the clock lit up, not only does campus feel darker and perhaps even a bit less welcoming, but I don’t exactly know what time it is from a distance. I miss the lights behind the clock dearly, and I am certainly looking forward to this unsung hero’s return.

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