In my last blog I let it be known that the point of my blogging will be to express my positive feelings about Penn State and our Intercollegiate Athletics. Well, I would also like to share with you why I chose to call State College, Pennsylvania, my home two years ago. I have had so many positive experiences in this community; if you haven’t taken a trip, maybe this will encourage you to visit our town.
Growing up a few hours east of Happy Valley, in Reading, Pennsylvania, I would occasionally take trips to watch sporting events or take part in one of the many great cultural events held in State College. My family would, as many families do, load up the car with necessary essentials and head west. My mother would say, “We are headed to Happy Valley,” with a great big smile across her face; that phrase, “Happy Valley,” would infectiously bring a smile to my face as well. Sometimes we would watch a football or hockey game. We would shop downtown and enjoy one of State Colleges many restaurants. It was almost like going on vacation to a mystical place, “Happy Valley”. Sometimes it seemed the only difference was there was no beach. What it was though was great entertainment, great food and above all else a happy atmosphere for any age. The people were friendly, the ice cream was incredible, it was almost as if a quick trip reenergized my entire family. It was my first introduction to college, something that was way down the road but seemed like a great idea and a goal that I set for myself at a young age.
When you’re young, many times it’s the “stuff” that attracts you the most. I remember how cool it felt pulling my first blue and white baseball hat over my head. The colors were traditional, the logo was fierce and every athlete I saw looked like a superhero. It was truly an experience that I will never trade for the world. Although material things do not mean as much as they once did, State College has much to offer to anyone who lives here or just feels like making a weekend out of it. Not into my fairyland version of Happy Valley? That’s fine. Here are a few factual highlights that make Happy Valley so happy.
State College, Pa, “The Happy Valley,” truly lives up to its name academically, athletically and culturally. Being one of the premiere schools and places to live in the country, students receive a top notch education and are able to participate and gain life experiences through a number of avenues. Citizens of State College are experiencing a low unemployment rate and are influenced by a diverse culture of great events. Happy Valley is a great place to not only expand yourself as a student, athlete but also as a citizen.
As the summer moves on and we approach the upcoming academic year, Happy Valley will be on display, as close to 44,000 students, graduate and undergraduate, will create one of the largest universities in the United States. The university’s total enrollment, on average, is approximately 95,000, across 24 campuses and online through World Campus. The University offers more than 160 majors combined. With its many groups, clubs and potential job opportunities, it is almost agiven that a student will be able to find happiness in their four or more years at PSU.
If you’re not a student, you can find happiness here as well. As of the 2010 census, the borough population was estimated at 42,034 and just over 104,00 living in the surrounding townships which is often referred to locally as the “Centre Region.” Citizens are able to enjoy nationally recognized events such as 4th Fest, Arts Fest, and Center Counties ever popular Grange Fair, to just name a few. Upwards of 100 bars and restaurants liter the State College area; you don’t have to go far to find a great place to eat. If you like sports you can easily attend one of the 31 current varsity sporting events or watch one of the many club games as well. You could go to a show at one of the many local theatres, catch a movie or even visit one of the many beautiful parks in the area. It is really hard to not find something to do while working, studying, or just visiting State College.
State College is truly a great place to visit or live, but don’t take my word for it. With all of the negativity right now, let’s not be too harsh on one of the happiest places there is.