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Penn State students take sides on the new plan and more: letters to the editor

President Barron speaks during the Penn State Board of Trustees meeting Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.
President Barron speaks during the Penn State Board of Trustees meeting Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.

A ‘way to deepen the pockets?’

As a student of slightly over three years at the university, I feel a deep connection to the culture and atmosphere here at Penn State. Naturally, the article which details President Barron’s tentative plans for 2025 interested me very much. 

The premise of the piece was what I collected to be an announcement for an idea of a “lifelong university.” President Barron proposed to extend universal access to Penn State students even after they graduate to continue to take classes and further their education later in life after graduation. President Barron said, “This is a portal so that you never finish at Penn State if you don’t want to.” 

Of course, in theory, this sounds like a great idea. Who wouldn’t want to stay in college “forever?” However, as one who currently pays tuition along with my fellow students, I wonder if this could simply be another way to deepen the pockets of the university. With tens of thousands of students paying their yearly tuition, the end result is a diploma at the end of four years. 

But aiming to extend that time at Penn State to an entire lifetime would only be a lifetime of paying for classes. President Barron himself said, “With this idea, potentially 800,000 people out there are still Penn State students.” The campus could not handle the traffic, the system could not handle the usage, and the students could likely not handle the bills. - Greg Brkovich, State College, PA

‘Alumni will stay more involved’

The article published on September 14, titled, “Why Barron feels Penn State’s vision for 2025 can set it apart from others” informed readers about a plan for upcoming changes to Penn State through 2025. All of this relevant information effects not only the current Penn State community, but also future students of Penn State, and even counties surrounding State College. 

These upcoming changes will better shape the way Penn State functions as a university. By keeping the Penn State community alive “so that you never finish at Penn State,” alumni will actively stay more involved and in touch with the university and continue to give back. 

Being a current Penn State student, I applaud the university for its efforts to promote lifelong learning and legacy. Although 2025 seems very far away, it’s important to highlight that Penn State is always looking ahead to improve in any way possible. By promoting lifelong learning, Penn State will continue to connect with all people throughout the world by breaking down boundaries and effectively spreading the message of inclusiveness. 

As a Penn State student, this gives me many opportunities to continue to learn each day everywhere I go. Penn State has been the leader in many different spectrums, so I’m excited to see how Penn State creates these transitions and what other universities will bring to the table. - Kelsey Tyrrell, State College, PA 

‘We need to educate’ student drivers

The article “Penn State international student killed in Saturday morning Atherton Street crash” reported a car accident resulting in the death of a 21-year-old student. Driving has always been a concerning topic, and I wish to provide some suggestions based on our current reality. 

A 16-year-old teen is able to get a junior license after having a learner’s permit for 6 months in Pennsylvania. Because teens can drive at a relatively young age, people often hold a stereotype that college students have good driving abilities. However, motel vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among college students, according to the most recent data available from the National Center for Health Statistics. 

The involvement of cell phones and alcohol have caused even more accidents within the college age group in recent years. These statistics made clear that we need to educate and reinforce the importance of safe driving to students. 

One thing we can do is to invite some influential public speakers, like the head of the local Alpha fire company, to talk about their experiences and attitudes toward safe driving. The other way is to develop programs or lectures dealing with knowledge and judgments relating to safe driving. It may be difficult to have a formal class specifically for this topic at school, but it would be worth the effort. - Zhuoxin Liang, Penn State student