If learning is indeed a change in behavior based on experience, as my ceramics professor used to say, then Penn State can be commended on being a positive example for education. I am grateful that PSU has instituted a task force to review and determine the best use of Penn State land holdings based on its experience with the community’s response to the proposal for Toll Brothers to build luxury student housing on land that was rezoned in 2004 from being agricultural land to R4, high-density residential. Had this task force been in place in 2004, it seems highly unlikely that the rezoning would have taken place, especially considering that PSU was founded as a land-grant university and would not be where it is today without the generous land donations from agriculturally, environmentally and community minded individuals.
PSU has now been given a beautiful opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to education, a symbiotic relationship with the community, and being held in high esteem as good stewards of the land. It is inconceivable to me that a task force could justify luxury student housing on property that was originally zoned as agricultural and is integral to safe drinking water and healthy growth boundaries. I sincerely hope that they take this opportunity to work with Toll Brothers on the land swap and recommit themselves to being an educational institution, (rather than a self-serving, money-grubbing bureaucratic oligarchy) by preserving the acreage on Whitehall Road to be used for conservation and educational purposes.