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Central Penn Campus Culture

Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a three-part series on Central Penn’s campus culture.

Dynamic and Diverse

 By Sherri Long

Media Club Reporter

The campus culture of Central Penn College is a dynamic and diverse blend of resident, commuter, evening and online students.

Students represent a broad spectrum of race, culture, religion, ethnicity, age and family background. During the day, most students are full-time “traditional” students earning their first degree; however, one will always find the “nontraditional” students among them.

Some of these nontraditional students are furthering their careers by taking classes paid for by their employer; others have returned to Central Penn to finish a degree started prior to having a family; and some students are changing careers, and earning a new or higher degree. This provides a rich blend of real-world experiences for traditional and nontraditional students.

“I went to HACC and when you walk around on campus, no one makes eye contact. When I came to Central Penn, though, everyone is personable and engaging,” stated Jessi Swartz, Business Administration, who graduated in April.

Students at Central Penn blend into the surrounding community. The school, which has been in Summerdale since 1970, has become a part of the local landscape. Photo by Sherri Long

Students at Central Penn blend into the surrounding community. The school, which has been in Summerdale since 1970, has become a part of the local landscape. Photo by Sherri Long

A common ground

The campus culture of Central Penn is not a sheltered “own world” type of environment.  Commuter and online students greatly outnumber resident students, which helps Central Penn continue to be an involved part of the surrounding community of East Pennsboro Township.

Only 14 percent of students reside on campus, according to Central Penn’s marketing department. The Central Penn student family has 47 percent attending classes at the Summerdale campus, with 37 percent online and 16 percent attending the Lancaster Center.

Students and staff said that even with the large commuter population, students can feel involved and a part of Central Penn through clubs, sports and other activities.

“Not much to us because we’re commuters,” was Sharon Pitcavage’s first response when asked what campus culture means to her.

Pitcavage is a fourth-term Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) student. As she and two of her classmates discussed the question, while sitting at a table in the Advanced Education Technology Center (ATEC) building, Pitcavage realized that “OTA is a big family.”

“Diversity, everyone is included in all the student activities,” chimed in Lauren Steo, a fourth-term OTA commuter student.

Kayla Kubistek, also a fourth-term OTA commuter student, stated, “The mix of students is helpful to our major because we get experience with diverse races, traditional and nontraditional students.”

All three are involved in and volunteer together with the OTA Club. They all agreed that doing this increases the sense of family among OTA majors at Central Penn.

All students at Central Penn must meet the graduation requirement of community service – 25 hours for associate degree students and 50 hours for bachelor’s degree students. Career Services staff can help with finding volunteer opportunities within a student’s field so students can give back to their community, gain experience within their field, and gain a network of contacts and new friends.

Come back later this week for part two of our series on Central Penn Campus culture.


Edited by:  Co-Adviser to the Knightly News Professor Michael Lear-Olimpi

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