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Theme Park Enthusiasts Come Together At Penn State

Way back in 2009, a group of engineering students came together to form the Theme Park Engineering Group (TPEG) at Penn State. Now 12 years later, the club has more than 45 members and is recognized by the National Themed Entertainment Association.

The club’s main focus is to find passionate individuals with a love for roller coasters and the inner workings of theme parks. While the main emphasis is on engineering, any student from any college on campus is welcome to join.

“TPEG is a place where people who want to work in the theme park industry can come learn about how to get into the industry, learn about the things it takes to get into the industry, and the different skills,” Jared Martin, president of Theme Park Engineering Group, said. “It’s also a place for people who just enjoy theme parks, whether it is Six Flags, Disney or Universal, to come and talk about them and meet with like-minded individuals.”

Martin learned about the club before even starting his career here at Penn State, and he knew that it was something he wanted to be a part of. When the Involvement Fair came around his freshman year, he immediately gravitated toward the group.

“I, like a lot of our members, have always liked the theme park industry, and I grew up going to parks,” Martin said. “I looked up different ways to be involved in the industry in college and discovered this network of theme park clubs across different universities. At Penn State, it is one of the oldest.”

The group took its annual trip in September 2021 to Kennywood Amusement Park in Pennsylvania.

Some of the club’s objectives include theme park trips, tours of operation rooms at parks, meetings, designing rides and roller coasters of their own, and getting involved on campus.

The group has traveled to Kennywood, Six Flags Great Adventure, Cedar Point, Kings Island, and Knoebels, to name a few. But, the group’s biggest and most memorable event came through a trip down south.

“My favorite memory as a member was in the spring of 2019. We took our biggest trip ever and went and drove to Dollywood for the weekend. We probably had 30 people go, and it was a lot of fun,” Martin said. “We got a backstage tour before the park opened, we got to ride the rides all day. I had never been to Tennesse, so it was a really cool experience. ”

Last month, the group collaborated with the Forensic Science Club to host a haunted house right in the heart of campus.

After almost two years without regularly scheduled trips and meetings, Martin said it was great to come back together as a group and get to work again. This group, like so many others on campus, is finally back on track.

Theme Park Engineering Group together after the haunted house fundraiser in October.

“The last two years have been a challenge. I have been president since last April right as COVID was starting, and it has been a challenge. We haven’t had a chance to connect like we did those first couple of years…until this semester, which was great,” Martin said.

This upcoming spring semester, TPEG plans to take its biggest trip yet and vacation down to Florida.

To learn more about the Theme Park Engineering Group, you can visit its website or follow the club on Instagram or Twitter.

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About the Author

Mara McKeon

Mara is a sophomore staff writer majoring in English and public relations. She loves all things sports and anything that has peanut butter. You can usually find her obsessing over country music and wondering when Luke Combs will come back to the BJC. Feel free to reach her on Twitter @MckeonMara, and for more formal affairs, her email is [email protected]

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