We Are Penn State and We Are Growing!

Mynor Bendzin


As returning students enjoy another promising year on the Penn State Lehigh Valley campus, it may seem to them the hallways got a bit smaller this time around. Of course, it is not that the hallways shrunk, but that there are many new fresh faces roaming about. In fact, the campus is now seeing nearly a THOUSAND college students make use of all that it has to offer. The freshmen class is also the largest that it has been to date! It’s no wonder why the building seems livelier this year with the numerous sounds of laughter and chatter that echo in the air of the swarming hallways. For a great majority of the student body, this is seen as very reassuring as it looks to them that their college experience will be bright with many opportunities to make new interactions and lasting relationships. One Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) class at the campus also notes that the campus is not only filled with happy smiles but also is vibrant as well with the diverse group of students who all have unique and different backgrounds. To them, this looks to give life on campus a fruitful future as now it’s no longer only WE ARE PENN STATE that they chant, but WE ARE GROWING. This has greatly inspired this HDFS class to enlighten the rest of the student body of this new truth through a fundraising project. This fundraiser will help contribute to the large expansion project that the Penn State administration has insight in the coming year. The great minds of Penn State notice that the wings of their Lehigh Valley campus are now filling with promising minds leaving them no choice but to expand its nest.

Initial plans look for construction to begin spring 2020 and go through summer 2021 but as students return from winter break, they may be surprised to see some work already being started. The Nittany Lion statue already finds a new home at the back of the building near the student parking lot to make room for where the building campus will be expanded which also suggests that officials are eager to roll out construction sooner than expected. The front of the east wing, where the statue was originally located, will see an additional 21,000 sq ft attached to it across three stories. A major highlight of the building for many will be the fact that the first floor will see a full-service cafeteria which will accommodate the ever-growing number of students who utilize the seating area for socializing, eating, and studying. Faculty members are very excited about the new spaces that will be made available for teaching and learning. Among these new spaces are the labs that will come with the new stem wing on the third floor, which Penn State Lehigh Valley’s Chancellor, Dr. Richardson, believes to be one of the most important aspects of the expansion. This new wing will see more organic chem labs available to those who will need them for their pre-med courses which will also save some students from having to make inconvenient trips to other distant campuses just to take those courses. And since Penn State always aims to make their campuses an intriguing learning environment for their students, this building project will make sure to see these new spaces meet the needs of their pupils. This will be done by making additional tutor rooms as well as new student suites and new offices for student affairs on the second floor.  Hopefully, then students will not have to look too hard for quiet study areas, as now more rooms will be available to those who need to crack down on their textbooks.

To students who will not be here to see the result of the new renovations, this may not seem like a very exciting ordeal. However, it should not be too difficult to see a place they once considered a second home grow and continue to be called home to others in the forthcoming future. A place where lasting memories were made for many should deserve to have its foundations strengthened and expanded to allow room for others to have those same great experiences. One former Congressmen and Penn State alumni feels a similar way which may explain his decision to donate to the expansion. Chancellor Dr. Richardson expressed her gratitude to Charlie Dent for his contribution towards this cause. Furthermore, she acknowledges the efforts made by some members of the freshmen class who also aimed to make their lasting mark on the upcoming project through their fundraising. It is safe to say that the years to come will be a very exciting and hopeful one on the new campus.