Monthly Archives: September 2016

Why It’s Important to Vote

Central Penn Promotes Voting Awareness, Helps Students Register, and to Vote

By Norman Geary

Media Club Reporter

A Common Hour held recently in the Capital BlueCross Theatre focused on the importance of voting.

The Common Hour session was called Why It’s Important to Vote, which is something folks on campus have been talking about for quite some time during this presidential-election season.

Dillon Epler, associate residence life director, has been heading the project with faculty and staff support.

“It (had) been on the mind of faculty and staff, and myself, to put together a Common Hour to get the campus together and to engage civically and politically,” Epler says.

Whether students are traditional-aged or older continuing-education students, they often may be struggling to understand who they are and what they believe, Epler points out. They want to make it all – life, family, learning, job, social involvement – come together in college. Voting is a significant part of being involved in politics and self-determination, and one aspect of students’ efforts to understand themselves, and to be involved in the evolution and quality of their communities.

“It’s important to know who you are and know what you support, and, therefore, voting for the right candidate and for the right issues and policies you want passed is important,” Epler says.

When is Pennsylvania’s voter registration deadline?

The deadline to register to vote in Pennsylvania is Oct.11, so people at Central Penn College are hoping to have one, if not two, voter-registration drives to boost voting.

Election Day is Nov. 8.

Last year, the Pennsylvania General Assembly made it easier for people to register to vote.  People can still do the “old school” paper registration, or they can register online (see link below for registration in Cumberland County), and sources say Central Penn will have a voter-registration station set up in Bollinger Hall or ATEC.  The college also plans to provide two shuttles, one in the morning and one in the evening, to take students to register to vote, and to vote, in November.

“The Residence Life Office is open to all students for any questions if they want to talk about the voting process,” Epler says. “Students that want to register to vote or that want to get involved by being volunteers at the polls can get in touch with the Residence Life Office as well.”

Dillon Epler, associate residence life director, has been heading the project on the Central Penn College campus.

Dillon Epler, associate residence life director, has been heading the project to get students registered to vote on the Central Penn College campus.

How do students get involved?

To volunteer at polls, people can do one of two things: Stop by the Residence Life Office, Bollinger 40 and talk to Epler, who can contact the local Cumberland County Bureau of Elections to determine whether there are any openings in East Pennsboro voting precincts; or students can reach out themselves directly to the Cumberland County Bureau of Elections. Find general information on voting and registration in the Commonwealth at the Pennsylvania Department of State. ) (For information on the major-party candidates, see the links to their campaign sites at the end of the article.)

Why is student involvement important?

The importance of voting touches on many concerns, Epler says — among them support for an individual candidate, or to advocate for or against specific issues.

“Our elected officials make decisions for us on our behalf,” Epler says. “We live in a representative republic which fosters democracy. It’s important that the masses get involved to vote in the electoral process. There may be issues on the federal level, such as immigration reform, or on the local level, such as a new stop sign or traffic light, or a reduction in property tax.  It doesn’t matter which side of an issue you’re on, what matters is your participation in the voting process.”

Epler notes that on a state level, someone may want to see more reproductive rights or more clinics, or more LBGT rights. They might want to see a reduction in healthcare costs or lowering of taxes. It’s because of all these issues that we vote, he says.

“This is for the students, to be able to select a candidate that best suits them,” he says. “But it’s not just them, it’s whether it suits the country itself, on a federal or state and local level.”

More help from Central Penn

The library has voting guidance online. Access it at Central Penn Library Voting Guide.       

Learn about candidates at the links below:

 Edited by Media Club Co-adviser Michael Lear-Olimpi.

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Town Hall Meeting Provides Answers, Shows Some Changing Local Attitudes

By Lawrence Wilson

Media Club Reporter

The time: 6:40 on a July evening as warm as good intentions.

The place: The Capital BlueCross Theatre, on the campus of Central Penn College, in the village of Summerdale, East Pennsboro Township.

The personnel: Some Central Penn faculty and the school’s president are in the theater, along with residents of the neighborhood surrounding the campus.

The event: A town hall meeting at which local residents and Central Penn folks can discuss issues pertinent to both.

It has been more than 40 years since Central Penn moved into the area and, as is typical in college towns, from time to time, misperceptions, misunderstandings and the occasional real problem crop up between residents and students, whether the latter are on-campus residents or commuters.

Tonight, Central Penn’s ninth president, Karen M. Scolforo, is hosting this event — the first of its kind on the campus that anyone can remember.

By 6:51, about 40 nonstudent township residents have entered the drama zone and taken their seats.

By 7:02, roughly 60 are catching up with one another.

Before the curtain rises

It is late July in the Lower Susquehanna Valley, so the air is thick, but not tight. Still, no one knows what to expect, even though everyone knows for sure one thing on the minds of the non-Central Penn attendees: “Will our questions be answered?”

Soon, Scolforo opens the meeting with a thorough presentation of the school’s mission and value statements. She then extends an invitation for members of the East Pennsboro community to involve themselves with the school’s Facility Planning Committee, the purpose of which is to serve as a relationship-building connection between the school and the community surrounding it.

No official meeting of the committee and residents has occurred, but the committee members are ready as Scolforo and her administration prepare to move ahead with her plans to continue expanding Central Penn’s academic offerings, physical presence and partnerships.

Joining in

As part of introductions and relationship-building, a few staff and faculty members presented how their departments contribute to the school.

Chief Public Safety Director Ron Amoriello, Director of Residence Life Megan Peterson, and Central Penn Players Theatre Club Adviser and Theatre Director Janet Bixler were among them.

This being the first such significant gathering people could remember of Central Penn College personnel and residents of the off-campus community, most people expected a level of uneasiness and some pointed questions.

Expectations were met, but calmly, and respectfully.

 Voices heard, and listened to

One resident asked whether his son would feel safe when leaving home. His concern mirrored other residents’ concerns about safety on and around the campus. Statistics gathered by school officials and police show the campus is what most observers would describe as extraordinarily safe.

Some community attendees expressed perceptions that Central Penn students have brought a drug problem to the community.

The college has very few drug-related incidents compared to other colleges.

According to Central Penn’s state-required crime report, six drug-law arrests were made on campus in 2014, four in 2013 and two in 2012; none was made off campus. No drug-law arrests were made in 2011.

The report is accessible at 2014 is the most recent year for which a report is available.

Lt. Mark Green, of the East Pennsboro Township Police Department, addressed residents’ safety concerns.

“The drug problem is a national problem and does not just stop at East Pennsboro,” Green said.

Will expansion squeeze anyone?

Another concern presented was Central Penn’s expansion plans.

One long-time township resident said he and others “get nervous” about the school’s expansion plans. There seemed to be some confusion as to what school officials want to do. Some residents questioned why the school wanted to take their property.

Scolforo reassured attendees that Central Penn has no intention of making any land grabs, such as by using eminent domain, or any other method. She then reissued her invitation to members of the East Pennsboro community to be involved with the Facility Planning Committee to help develop ideas and an outlook for the school’s future.

Another resident suggested thinking outside the box when looking at parking needs and parking lots. Spaces fill quickly now when classes are in session and events are being held in the college conference center, and any expansion, let alone a much-discussed fieldhouse, or other sports complex and establishment of a “Main Street College Town” environment, brings more cars and the need for more parking areas.

Attendees seemed to sense a change under Scolforo’s tenure – one of more community outreach.

Residents shared after the meeting a willingness to reconsider their attitudes toward the school that is part of their community.

One couple, residents here since 1973, provide housing to a male student from New Jersey. Ten years ago was the last time they can remember housing students, and then it was a female student who later married a neighbor.

After what some people described as a significant number of years of little to no communication between the East Pennsboro community and the Central Penn campus community, misunderstandings could be melting away from negative perceptions and morphing into harmonious participation.

Career Services Director Steve Hassinger invited a community member to be a mock interviewer for a freshman seminar class, and he accepted.

“These kids get a bad rap,” the resident said.

Another resident added: “I’m glad I came (to the meeting). I’m really, really glad I came.”

Edited by Michael Lear-Olimpi, Media Club co-adviser.

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Knightly Newscast for September

by Norman Geary

News Correspondant

In our final newscast of the summer semester, Paul Miller, co-adviser of the Central Penn Knightly News, will have feature writer Norm Geary discussing “Getting beyond the average to find your excellence.”

In addition to this topic Miller and Geary will discuss the following.

LinkedIn: The Time is Now  workshop hosted by Professor Paul Miller on September 6, 2016 in Milano Room 13, from 4 p.m.-5 p.m.

Knight Writers Poetry Slam – Wednesday, Sept. 7 from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. in the Capital Blue Cross Theatre.  Admission is free.

In conclusion, Education: The Cost of College Books, a continuing follow-up on the topic of open source materials in the fight to keep textbook costs low for the students.

The Knightly News Media Club wants to extend its many thanks to the Central Penn College community for their support.

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The Knightly News Releases Special Podcast

By Paul Miller

Co-Adviser to the Knightly News

In our most recent podcast, the Knightly News podcast is joined by Student Activities Director Adrienne Thoman to discuss her “Featured Three” events of September.

In addition to Thoman joining the podcast, Professor Paul Miller steps back from the host role and becomes the guest, as Nasir Harris interviews Miller about his upcoming LinkedIn:  The Time is Now workshop.

In Thoman’s segment, she discussed some fantastic events on campus for the month of September, including the upcoming Knight Writers Poetry Slam, Late Knight Breakfast, and Cram Jam.

Knight Writers Poetry Slam – Wednesday, Sept. 7 from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. in the Capital BlueCross Theatre.  Admission is free.

Late Knight Breakfast – Thursday, Sept. 8 from 10 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. in the Knight and Day Cafe.  No cost to students.

Cram Jam – Begins Sunday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. – Monday, Sept. 12 at 5 a.m.  No cost to students.

In Miller’s segment, the importance of having a LinkedIn profile for college students was discussed.

“Having an excellent LinkedIn profile is the single most important thing a student can do while in college to promote their talents and find opportunity in the job market.” Miller said.

He provided a preview to his workshop that will take place Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 4:00 p.m. in Milano Hall, Room 13.  All are welcome.

In addition, Dr. Karen Scolforo stopped by the give our campus a wonderful leadership tip that can be used by all.  The Media Club thanks Dr. Scolforo for her continued support.

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