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Commonwealth Campuses: The Secret Finals Week Weapon You May Not Have Considered

A number of Penn State students chose to live at home this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. While tackling finals week without the luxuries of the Pattee and Paterno libraries isn’t an easy feat, Penn State’s Commonwealth Campuses could give nearby students a much-needed boost heading into the semester’s final weeks.

Check out a few ways other Penn State campuses could help you survive finals week.

Penn State Go App

The first thing students can do to make the most out of the closest Commonwealth Campus is to switch the location on the Penn State Go app to reflect that specific location. Sometimes it will switch automatically, but other times it must be done manually. Click on the three horizontal lines in the top right corner, select “Change App Experience,” and simply change it to the desired location.

Study Rooms

One of the most convenient features of living near a Commonwealth Campus is the ability to use its open study rooms. Typically, the campuses have designated rooms for commuters and residents to work in.

The Penn State Go app includes a list of available rooms for each campus. This can be found by clicking the icon on the home page that says “Remote Rooms.” Another spot to find what rooms are open at a Commonwealth Campus is on the Penn State Libraries’ website.

The website is much more useful and detailed when seeing which rooms are open. It includes capacity limits, whether rooms have to be rented out or not, and a comprehensive list of all the resources available to students.

Printers & Equipment

There’s nothing worse than needing to print a paper in a hurry and seeing that the ink has run out in your home printer. Luckily, Commonwealth Campuses have printers, copiers, scanners, and even 3D printers ready for use.

Additionally, the website mentioned above shows what equipment and technology can be rented out by students, as well as the price and the duration they can be borrowed for. This resource might come in handy for students who need to rent video cameras for a final project for COMM 465, for example.

Leftover Dining Dollars

Students can use their meal plans at any Commonwealth Campus. Food is ordered just as it is at University Park. Access the Penn State Go app, and select the icon on the main page labeled “Dining.” It will show the dining locations, hours, and what is specifically available to order.

Some campuses also include a convenience store where students can purchase grocery-style products, including milk, eggs, and snacks which can be bought using meal plan dollars. For example, Penn State Brandywine offers convenience store items and made-to-order food and Starbucks at the Blue Apple Cafe.

Regardless, make sure you use those meal points up before they expire at the end of the semester. Treat yourself to an on-campus study break if you’re heading to a Commonwealth Campus near you.


Sometimes, a slight change of scenery is all you need ahead of finals week. Take a break from studying in your childhood bedroom and head to the closest Commonwealth Campus for some fresh air. They offer outdoor recreational areas, including large, empty fields or tennis courts, which are a hit at Penn State Abington. The easiest way to find what specifically the campus offers is by searching on the map.

In addition to outdoor areas to explore, some campuses have indoor facilities to use, too. For instance, the Fayette campus offers museum visits from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Coal and Coke Heritage Center.

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About the Author

Nicole Oronzio

Nicole is a sophmore majoring in journalism. She is from Aston, PA and loves hiking, watching movies, and trying new things. She has an obsession with her dog, Simba (aka. the love of her life). Just a fair warning: She will ramble on about literally any topic if given the chance. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @nicoleoronzio or email her at [email protected]


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