Lion Walk Aims to Improve Town Gown Relations
Top brass from Penn State and State College rubbed elbows last night, with each other and with borough residents too.
The ambitious meet-and-greet was all part of the sixth annual Living In One Neighborhood walk.
The walk is an attempt by both the university and the State College Borough to promote safety and responsibility, as well as foster a good town-gown relationship. Before Thursday evening ended, more than 100 volunteers had visited over 700 homes.
Some of the prominent people at the event included State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham, State College Police Chief Tom King, Penn State President Rodney Erickson and University Park Undergraduate Association President Katelyn Mullen. These local leaders and others, walked through the downtown as well as College Heights and the Holmes-Foster neighborhoods.
The sudden appearance of so many influential people (King in full police uniform) startled some very unsuspecting students. They were a little thrown off by the massive amount of local leaders knocking on their doors.
Volunteers handed out some first aid kits donated from Alpha Fire as well as information on how to be a good neighbor in State College.
Erickson said that he really believes in the cause of facilitating town-gown relations in such a positive way.
"Usually, when people have a problem, they start by typing firstname.lastname@example.org," Erickson said.
Erickson also said it is inherent that tension exists between Penn State and the State College borough, but told a story about how when he was a student in Minnesota, he lived in a house with his friends where his neighbor was a city council member. The neighbor said that if the students respected his privacy, he would understand that they may get loud on the weekends, Erickson said.
"He did say though, 'Unless I find my 16-year-old daughter over here. Then you are toast,'" Erickson joked.
State College Borough Manager Tom Fountaine started off the night, saying that this event is an attempt to get people together who might not see each other on a regular basis.
"All of you acknowledge there is a tremendous relationship we have going on here," Fountaine said. "There is great work going on on both sides of College Avenue."
Goreham said the event was a good opportunity to integrate students in the State College community, and that this event helps make it happen.