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[Photo Story] Penn State’s 2021 In Photos

While 2020 was filled with hardships from the COVID-19 pandemic, Penn State rose to the challenges and made it through tough times. The arrival of 2021 was filled with hope, and with this year came the return of many things Penn Staters hold dear, including in-person classes and football games.

With 2022 on the doorstep, let’s take a look at some memorable moments our visual staff captured this year.

January: New Year, Same Weather (Again)

In almost identical fashion, the new year began with a massive snowstorm. State College was blanketed in white for the second consecutive January.

February: THON Goes Virtual

Due to the pandemic, THON couldn’t take place in person inside the Bryce Jordan Center. Instead, using a livestream, THON went virtual, uniting the community for 46 hours over THON Weekend. Dancers around State College took on the challenge in safe, creative ways, including dancing from their dorm rooms.

Check out this post for a full breakdown of our best posts and features from THON 2021.

March: State Gets Vaccinated

The development and approval of COVID-19 vaccines spurned a rush of clinics around Centre County. Centre Volunteers in Medicine hosted clinics at the Bryce Jordan Center, allowing hundreds of students and residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

April: Football (Kinda) Returns

Choosing to skip the traditional Blue-White spring game due to COVD-19 concerns, Penn State opted for two open spring football practices. The events brought select students back into Beaver Stadium for the first time since November 2019.

May: A *New* New Normal

May brought many improvements, including loosened restrictions on gathering, distancing, and masking. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf stopped by Pegula Ice Arena to encourage Penn Staters to get vaccinated, too.

June: New Improvements To The Arboretum

After many months of construction, the Arboretum opened its brand-new Pollinator and Bird Garden.

The new 3-acre complex provides a 60% increase to the center’s acreage of developed gardens. With more than 143,000 plants, rustic “bee hotels,” and some beautiful scenery, the Pollinator and Bird Garden is already an incredible addition to the Arboretum.

July: Engineering Breaks New Ground

A 10-year project that will improve the College of Engineering’s facilities broke ground in July. The ceremony recognized the construction of upcoming College of Engineering expansions, including two new research and teaching spaces — plus the long-awaited demolition of the Hammond Building.

August: In-Person Events Return

In-person classes, the Involvement Fair on the HUB Lawn, SPA concerts, and more came back to the delight of the student body. Students of all ages rocked out to what promised to be a great semester.

September: White Out Conditions

One of the most anticipated events of the fall semester, the White Out made its triumphant return to the tune of over 109,000 screaming fans. College GameDay returned to Happy Valley, and the Nittany Lions took down the Auburn Tigers in a thriller.

October: Fall Foliage

It took its time, but Happy Valley’s famous fall foliage returned in bright red, orange, and yellow hues.

November: Men’s Soccer Wins B1G…Twice

Penn State men’s soccer dominated its season to win both the Big Ten’s regular-season and tournament titles. A long-awaited win over Indiana sealed the deal for the Nittany Lions.

December: Meet Madam President

After Eric Barron announced he’s retiring, Penn State began searching for its next leader. In December, we broke the news that Dr. Neeli Bendapudi, who was previously president at Louisville, will take the reins after Barron’s contract expires in June.

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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's one of many "just outside of Philly" folks at Penn State and yes, she's an obnoxious Philly sports fan. Alysa loves her camera, hiking, Cape Cod, and eating her way through Wawa. She's also a proud mom to a cat named Comet. Follow @arubin241 on Twitter to keep up with what she sees through her lens (and for a funny retweet or two), and direct all photo requests to [email protected]


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