I'd like to share my experience of the first week of classes here at Penn State.
Yes, traffic has quadrupled. Yes, Walmart looks like people preparing for the apocalypse. Yes, maneuvering through campus by vehicle or on foot requires stealth and patience. That's life in a university community.
But last week, in spite of, or perhaps because of, the recent events that paralyzed everyone who calls or ever called State College "home," the atmosphere feels hopeful, fresh, determined and unified.
As I walked through campus, people's eyes met and a nod, a smile or a "good morning" was shared among strangers. A freshman at the post office asked for an envelope the right size to send his dad a gift for his birthday and I was struck by the sweetness of this gesture. Another student stopped to help a co-worker and I after we dropped some items we were taking to the HUB. The simple, mundane, yet comforting elements of just living our lives goes unnoticed and unvalued until we're shaken to our core, and then these moments become much more magnified and appreciated.
So I say to those hellbent on erasing the "Happy" from our Valley, go ahead and fly your ominous message-spewing planes. Keep insisting that we are a perverse cult of pedophile-protecting people. Go ahead and take our trophies, statues and players. We. Are. Still. Here.
We are good people. We are employees, business owners, parents, students and athletes.
We. Are ... you.
Sandy Minichiello State College