Penn State

On Centre | Penn State: Summer break offers plenty of activity on campus

Summer is a different kind of animal at Penn State.

Come to campus between mid-December and the beginning of January, and it can feel like you’ve stumbled upon the abandoned ruins of a lost civilization. How can thousands of people simply vanish overnight?

Spring break isn’t much better. Although it is shorter, there is definitely an expectation of tumbleweeds rolling by as you walk past the HUB.

But summer break is much livelier.

To be fair, there is a reason for many students to stay on campus. Three reasons, actually. The end of spring semester is followed rapidly by the start of the monthlong Maymester, which has the two six-week summer sessions nipping at its heels. That keeps a lot of teaching, research and more happening between the end of spring semester and the start of the fall semester.

Some of those are students who are getting their feet wet before being thrown into the pool for their freshman year in the fall. Russ Muchinsky at Penn State’s Morgan Center says that’s a strategy that isn’t just used for skittish kids going away from home for the first time. His staff uses it to help student-athletes acclimate to juggling the time demands of practice and games against the importance of academics.

But there is still a life to campus in the lazy days of summer that doesn’t exist during the other breaks, and much of it has to do with other people.

Last weekend, there was noise and energy everywhere as the Special Olympics took over parts of campus.

Starting Monday, it will be summer camps. Third- and fourth-graders will be building Lego robots while fourth- through eighth-graders solve crimes with science. They sound great, yes, but like the scientific myth-busting camp the following week — and a slew of others later in the summer — they are totally filled, so don’t tell your kids if they aren’t already signed up.

There may still be some space in a few upcoming ones, like the infectious disease camp for high school students June 22-26 or Global Water Heroes camp for middle-schoolers June 22-24. High-schoolers can explore artificial intelligence June 28 to July 3.

The College of Communications sponsors broadcast journalism and film camps, both full, but there might still be a chance for the multimedia journalism camp. All three happen in July.

And that doesn’t even take into consideration the sports camps. Does your kid have dreams of running out of the tunnel at Beaver Stadium? From first grade through high school, there is an opportunity for them to live the dream at a Penn State camp.

There really is something for everybody at University Park when it comes to spending your summer vacation.

Me? I’ll be camping out at Berkey Creamery. Two scoops of watermelon sherbet, please.