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How Penn Staters Found Love In Happy Valley

Feeling hopeless this Valentine’s Day? We feel you.

Despite the thousands of students that call Penn State home, most of us can recall disastrous dates and desolate dating app experiences. It can feel hopeless and at times lonely.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we asked Penn Staters who found love in Happy Valley to share their stories to prove that there is indeed hope for the rest of us.

Jenna F. — Student Section Power Couple

“Matt and I met in the soccer student section in August 2021. He was the vice president of the Park Ave Army, and I was the president of the wRECking Crew. We had to collaborate on a flyer for the Involvement Fair, and Matt never answered my GroupMe message about it. I saw him at the soccer game we were at, so I introduced myself and asked him if he needed anything else from me for the flyers.

We started talking and quickly realized our apartment complexes were right next to each other. My window faced his balcony, so we would always wave to each other and walk to different sporting events together. One night he invited me over, and we sat out on the balcony and talked for three hours straight about our future goals, interests, our families, and everything in between. Two days later he took me out to dinner, and the rest is history!”

Courtesy of Jenna Flatley

Kiersten G. — Gym Crushes To COVID Cuties

“Freshman year (we are seniors now), I saw him working out at the gym with his Marine weighted backpack on. I thought he was so cute and admired him from afar the whole time at the gym. The next day, I went to the same gym with a sports bra on to try and look cute — funny, I know. I ended up getting sent home because you aren’t allowed to wear sports bras in the gym facilities.

Around comes sophomore year, he ends up becoming friends with my guy friend group. I tell them one night drunk how I always thought Brian was so cute, and I’d love to get to know him. Two days later, Brian slides in my DMs complimenting my shirt — terrible move. I answered super late because I didn’t see the text at first. We ended up having a one-night stand, and I woke up that morning with a huge fever. He leaves and I go to get COVID tested because this was 2020. I tested positive for COVID.

I had to text the guy I’ve been obsessed with that he needs to get tested for COVID — like, how embarrassing! He ends up being nice about it, and he tests positive as well. We ended up quarantining together and after the 10 days, we never stopped texting or hanging out. Two years later, we’re still here! Planning on moving in together after graduation and the love is still strong. Gym crushes are so real and manifestation works, ladies!”

Nathan H. — If It’s Meant To Be, It’ll Be

“I met my fiancé at Beaver Stadium. It was a 3:30 p.m. Iowa game in 2018. I was drunk, and she had a boyfriend. We officially started dating in the spring of 2019 and will get married this fall in 2023.”

Jennifer Z. — Why It’s Good When Friends Force You To Go Out

“1996: My senior year as an HPA major. I had an English lit class in the Engineering Building. The class before always ran late, and we had to wait in the narrow hallways. I noticed this cute guy walk by, and we would always smile at each other.

Fast-forward to Homecoming Week and my sorority, Delta Zeta, was partnering with SAE. My friends talked me into going to the social on a Tuesday night. I had a test the next day and knew I shouldn’t. This cute boy from the Engineering Building walked down the stairs and then we were randomly [put in] the same group for games for the rest of the night.

We talked the whole night, realized we both had exams the next day, and were both talked into going out. By the way, he did great on his engineering test…me, not as well. We even got to dance in THON together! But, the rest as they say is history. Married in July 2000 entering in with the Penn State fight song behind us. Twenty-two years married with five wonderful kids.”

Courtesy of Jennifer Zentner

Olivia — Floorcest, But With A Happy Ending

“When we were freshmen, we both lived on the same floor in an East dorm hall and were part of a big friend group on our floor of like 10 or so people. We pretty much all hung out together like every weekend and as we hung out more and more, my now-boyfriend and I got to know each other, started flirting, and then he asked me on a date at the end of the fall semester. The rest is history.”

Laurie C. — Chivalry On Frat Row

“My husband came up to me at DU frat party my freshman year in 2002 and boldly declared, “You’re the most beautiful girl at this party, and I’m not leaving until you dance with me.” He was rebuffed but his tenacity paid off. We’ve been married 11 years.”

Courtesy of Laurie Coghlan

Sydney — Auditorium Heroics

“I met my boyfriend Max while working at Eisenhower Auditorium in February 2022. While we had both been working there for months, we never really had shifts together. It wasn’t until the national tour for the Broadway show ‘Waitress’ that we got to really talk. We were on opposite sides of the very crowded lobby when suddenly I find myself alone and that all of the ticket scanners had fallen offline. I call for help over the radio, and Max quickly crossed the literal sea of hundreds of frustrated patrons to help me.

He made sure I was OK, calmed me down, and told me that we were gonna fix this together. We figured out a way to get everyone inside to see the show before being assigned new roles now that tickets were collected. It wasn’t for an entire month that I saw him again.

Our coworker told me this band (shoutout LEG) was playing a house show at Champs. I was able to see him perform and talk to him outside of work (and our Olive Garden-looking uniforms) for the first time and snagged his number. He asked me out at the Movin’ On Battle of the Bands a few days later, and we’ve been together ever since!”

Olivia R. — Classmates To A Couple

“On the first day of freshman year, I walked into my first class in the basement of the Willard Building. I decided to work on the first homework with two other girls who sat next to me. We ended up working together for the rest of the semester. Directly after class, the three of us would get lunch at the West Dining Commons, bonding over the struggles of being a freshman and adapting to college life.

Besides my roommate, they were my first new friends at Penn State. We all hung out throughout the semester. After the class ended, one of the girls and I stayed close. She quickly became my best friend and we started to spend a lot of time together. After the school year finished, we even visited each other’s hometowns over the summer. Two weeks back on campus into our sophomore year, we realized how we both felt about each other and decided to start dating. We’ve been together for over four years now and currently live together in Boston. Shoutout to our friend Emma and the GenEd class “Anatomy of Paris” for making this love story possible.”

Courtesy of Olivia Romano

Rebecca L. — Finding Love In Nittanyville

“When we were freshmen, both Matt and I camped out separately in our own friend groups. Me, with my floor-mates from McElwain Hall, and Matthew, with his floor-mates from Stuart Hall. Mutual friends from each group decided to bring the two groups together one night for a game of Cards Against Humanity. While playing the game, Matt walked into the tent where I was already. Immediately, I leaned over to my friend Shannon and called “dibs.” Luckily, Matt did not hear it because he would’ve found out too soon how weird I am.

After hanging out all week and weeks afterward, Matt and I started getting closer and closer. He helped me with my chemistry homework and let me borrow a tie for my Halloween costume. I visited East Halls and watched movies with the boys. He consoled me when my Grammie died, and I texted him almost every day when we were home on holidays.

Throughout college, we dated and did long distance in the summers when Matt was in Pittsburgh and I was in upstate New York. Then, Matt got a job in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, so we didn’t have to do long distance anymore!

We got engaged in front of Beaver Stadium as a bunch of football recruits were getting off the bus after their tour.

We Are…getting married!”

Courtesy of Rebecca Luff

Madeline H. — Dogs Are The Best Wingmen

“My best friend’s brother was in a fraternity. She said the house puppy was cute. We went to see the puppy, and I met the guy who owned the puppy. It was love at first sight…for the puppy (Wilbur), and eventually, I fell in love with the guy, too. We have now been married nine years.

Courtesy of Madeline Houseman

The quotes in this article have been edited slightly for grammar and clarity.

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About the Author

Marie Moyer

Marie is a fourth-year student majoring in journalism and minoring in sociology. She loves being fiscally irresponsible at local farmers markets, watching niche documentaries on HBO, and going to Penn State hockey games as "self-care." You can reach her on Instagram - @_mariemoyer_ or send her suggestions (and cat photos) via her email - [email protected].

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