An assistant professor at Penn State is putting a twist on a Halloween-themed idea with a goal to educate the community about public transportation.
It involves decorating buses that are used for Centre County Transportation Office’s ride program.
Five of the buses will be transformed into a taco, bunny, spaceship, witch and a shark for the Centre Region Parks and Recreation Halloween Parade on Sunday in State College. Additionally, they’ll be used to serve Centre County residents on Monday, while still in costume.
Gray’s Woods, Easterly Parkway, Mount Nittany and Park Forest elementary school students were the masterminds behind the decorations.
Their ideas were solicited by students in Penn State’s STEM Communication club, which promotes community outreach for science, technology, engineering and math-related studies.
State College Area elementary school students were part of a project to decorate Centre County buses for Halloween
Penn State junior Emma Kesidis said she provided primary school students and their teachers with a layout of the buses to design how they wanted them to be decorated for Halloween. Additionally, those students were asked to report why they would use public transportation.
Students who participated were from Gray’s Woods, Easterly Parkway, Mount Nittany, Park Forest, Lemont and Houserville elementary schools.
It was part of a larger urban planning initiative spearheaded by assistant professor of geography Clio Andris.
I guess the objective is to get people interested in public transportation
Clio Andris, director of Friendly Cities Lab at PSU
“I guess the objective is to get people interested in public transportation,” she said.
Andris, who’s also the director of Friendly Cities Lab at Penn State, entered into a contest through an organization called 8 80 Cities in Ontario, Canada, which provided her with a $5,000 grant to put toward the project.
Her idea was one of 20 winners in the country to receive the grant.
That money went toward things like supplies for the bus decoration.
“There are so many people from this area that just don’t know what kind of services like this are around,” Andris said.
On Friday night, about 10 people from Penn State and the community pitched in to start decorating the buses at the county’s Transportation Office near Milesburg. More people are expected to help out Saturday to finish the project.
Project was supported by Centre County commissioners
After Andris’s idea was turned down by Centre Area Transportation Authorities representatives, she and other members of the Friendly Cities Lab approached Centre County Commissioner Mike Pipe.
“He was really supportive of the idea and helped get us in touch with the right people,” Friendly Cities Lab volunteer and spokesman Will Hughes said. “It’s something that connects students with county government and is mutually beneficial.”