Thursday, September 20, 2018

A local’s guide to the Bloomsburg Fair

We're fast approaching an annual milestone that molds our university culture with those in the rural realm around us. Each year, people come together for a week from far and wide in the only town in Pennsylvania to celebrate: the Bloomsburg Fair!

I’m from the small town of Benton, about 20 miles north of Bloomsburg. The fair is a huge attraction for us rural neighbors, mainly because you have to drive to Bloomsburg to do anything exciting in the first place. Also, because the surrounding high schools have the whole week off for the fair. If you have never been to "The Fair," I implore you to try it out! Especially if you’re a fan of greasy, fried comfort food on a stick.

Animal lovers have their place at the fair too. There are plenty of barns where you can check out horses, goats, cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, rabbits, and even dogs (if you’re willing to pay a small fee). If you have an interest in antiques, gardening, or art, you should check out the four large, brick exhibit buildings located parallel to the sky ride. The best shopping and knick-knacks are located under the grandstand.

Of course, those aren’t the only attractions at the Bloomsburg Fair. There’s also the area around the track that houses all the carnival games you loved to play as a kid.

Have $10 and some serious carnival skill?

You might just win your significant other the most ginormous teddy bear ever. Or if you’re lacking in the skill department, you could win a keychain … I guess that’s nice too.

If you want an adrenaline rush, try out the carnival rides! The adrenaline comes from the ride, but also from the knowledge that it could (jokingly) break at any second. They are also mostly located at the far end of the track. In all seriousness, the rides are extremely safe, because they have to be inspected so many times for only one week of operation.

The food ... I mean, the food!

The food at the Bloomsburg Fair is possibly its biggest attraction. The food may seem very uniform, but every stand has a specialty, and a group of customers it attracts. Sure, there are TONS of fried food, but there are other delicious options that aren’t batter dipped and fried in oil. There are an abundance of stands selling cheesesteaks, gyros, pizzas, calzones, seafood, and some things you’ve never even heard of.

A few years ago I bought a foot-long hotdog with macaroni and cheese as a topping. There’s a stand where you can purchase a turkey leg. You read that right, you can walk around looking like a Viking. There are also some places that have more of a restaurant atmosphere where you can sit down and eat. Places like these usually have some of the best desserts.

Did you say dessert?

Yes, there are so many choices. There are the typical ice cream stands, and the not-so-typical Penn State Berkey Creamery stand (AKA the most delicious, non-homemade ice cream ever). The fair is also during peak apple season, so apple dumplings are a necessity and are available all over the fair. Another one of my favorites are flavored honey sticks. They’re basically like pixie sticks, but with dozens of different flavors of honey. There are multiple stands with taffy and other candies as well.

As if food and desserts weren’t enough, there are also some great beverages available at the fair. Kohr’s orange juice stands are everywhere, and it’s unlike any orange juice you’ve ever had. There are also multiple local cider mill stands where you can get delicious apple cider. Big Ben’s sodas (blue birch beer in particular) are also very yummy.

Last but not least ... the entertainment

No, I don’t mean people watching, although that has its entertaining moments as well.

There's a free stage located near the main entrance, where plenty of bands, musicians, and performing artists play from mid-morning until the fair closes each night. Marching bands also perform at different times throughout the week.

This year there are eight musicians and performing artists at the grandstand — ahem, Cole Swindell and Brett Eldredge to name two — and there’s also the always competitive tractor and truck pull and the popular, entertaining demolition derby.

Grandstand entertainment requires a ticket, which can be bought on the fair’s website. Got my ticket for Tuesday night and already itching to get there early, so maybe you'll see me down there!

— Dallas Kriebel, senior mass communications major #AGreatPlaceToBeYou

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Keeping up with a fast-paced city

It has been quite the eventful weekend here in our nation’s capital! After orientation events concluded on Friday, some of the other interns and I decided to tackle the metro to find our internship sites. One of the biggest rules in DC is how to use the escalators in the metro. If you are on the right side, you are standing. If you are on the left side, you are walking down as the escalator moves. This is important to remember, because D.C. is a very fast-paced city.

Our internship sites weren’t far from the Washington Monument and the White House, so we decided to do some sightseeing.

I was lucky enough to score two tickets for a tour of the Capitol building and the White House for next week so make sure you check back for pictures of the inside! By the end of this day, we had power walked (again, a very fast paced city) almost 10 miles!

Saturday was another busy day, as we did more sightseeing. We walked to the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court Building, which is only a 15 minute walk from our apartment. It is hard to truly gauge the size of the Supreme Court Building because it is absolutely massive. Pictures do not do it justice (no pun intended), as it stands nearly 92 feet tall, 385 feet long, and 304 feet wide. There is a basketball court on the fifth floor that has been named the “Highest Court in the Land”.

I start my internship on Tuesday, so make sure to see next week’s post about my first week on the job!

— Deanna Campion, a senior dual political science and communication studies  major #ProfessionalU

Friday, August 31, 2018

Starting college all over again

Hey everyone! My name is Deanna, and I will be blogging my internship experience in Washington, D.C. for the fall semester. I'm currently a senior at Bloomsburg University with a double major in political science and communication studies.

I got my internship through The Washington Center program. TWC provides classes, professional development seminars, networking opportunities, and internship/career counseling for students all around the country and the world. TWC helped me to find my internship with a nonprofit organization known as The Coalition for Juvenile Justice.

We drove over three and a half hours (about four total with the traffic in Maryland) to get to Washington. In the days leading up to move in day, it really felt like I was starting college all over again.

I was moving almost four hours away where I knew nobody. I knew one other student from BU, who was doing the program too (and coincidentally met a third student from BU who was doing the program as well).

Some of the other interns I met on the first day.
I’m in the middle in the light blue shirt!
I was nervous, but I knew I was about to begin the experience of a lifetime.

The first two days so far have been filled with meeting plenty of other interns as well as orientation events and seminars. I went to a few sessions to teach me how to use the metro to get to my internship site and websites to find free/low cost things to do around the city.

So far I have met people from Texas, Wisconsin, New York, Maine, Iowa, Ohio, and international students from Vietnam and Mexico. The rest of welcome weekend will include some adventuring out into the city.

Stay tuned!

— Deanna Campion, a senior dual political science and communication studies  major #ProfessionalU

Monday, July 23, 2018

Witnessing a pivotal time in Ireland’s history

In addition to the stunning sights, one of my most cherished moments of the study abroad tour of Ireland was the fact that we were present during a pivotal time in the country’s history. Ireland voted to repeal the eighth amendment of their constitution, which prohibits abortion. At that time we were in Dublin, Ireland’s lively urban capital with a rich history of its own.

Throughout the entirety of the trip, the passionate campaign signs for both sides of the issue “Vote Yes” and “Vote No” were inescapable across the country. It was both eye-opening and humbling. Coming from the U.S. in 2018, you can’t help but think that no other country could possibly be as divided as our own.

Since Ireland is so heavily influenced by the Catholic Church, they may be considered “behind” other nations in terms of divisive political issues like this one. They only just recently voted to legalize same sex marriage in 2015. Nevertheless, the evidence of progression was glaringly obvious that day; and we got to experience it first-hand.

Just a few days before we departed, the results were announced in favor of the referendum. On the streets of Dublin, in the midst of hundreds of Irish voters cheering and embracing each other - I couldn’t help but feel as though I was a front row spectator to a compelling success in Ireland’s history. It was a powerful, chill-inducing and memorable moment.

— Miranda Carrasquillo#HuskyAbroad #SAPro

Miranda Carrasquillo is pursuing their Master's in Educational Leadership through Bloomsburg University's College Student Affairs (M.Ed.) program. She is among a group of CSA students studying abroad this summer for two weeks in Ireland, visiting several universities to develop an understanding of the structure and practice of college student affairs in Ireland and gain insight into international issues.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A perfect introduction to college life

When I received my acceptance letter to Bloomsburg University in the spring of 2014, I was completely ecstatic. This was my top choice of schools, and I couldn’t wait to start my college career.

When I read the rest of the letter and saw that I would have to attend summer session, I cried. All of my friends would be enjoying their summer together while I was in Bloomsburg taking classes.
That’s what I thought, anyway.

Little did I know that attending summer session would be one of the best experiences throughout my four years at Bloomsburg. In my time as a summer freshman, I was able to make friends with the people in my classes, as well as my dorm.

There were only a few hundred of us, so everyone knew everyone. I had the opportunity to learn where the academic buildings were without the awkwardness of having to stop someone and get directions.

I mastered the art of when and how to do my laundry without all of them being taken. I got to know the people on my floor and made friends I’m still close with as I finished my senior year.

If you’re nervous about starting summer session, don’t be. For me, it was the perfect introduction to college life without the added pressure of the 500-plus people who actually knew what they were doing.

Take this opportunity to

Do well in your classes so you go into the fall with a rocking GPA. Oh yea, and have fun!

— Danielle Backowski, senior mass communications major #HuskyLife

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A rich five days in Belfast

Before arriving in the city at Stranmillis University College, where our accommodations were, we spent a fruitful day trekking along the northern coast to see The Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. These locations had stunning views of the North Atlantic Ocean, rolling countryside, and rural Irish culture. As jokingly referenced by the locals, our company seemed to have packed clear skies and sunshine in our suitcases, as beautiful weather followed us to each new site.

Our first exposure to Higher Education in the UK came when we visited Ulster University, which is the second largest university in Northern Ireland, consisting of four different campus locations. We had the opportunity to experience two of these campuses; their urban campus in downtown Belfast and their rural campus in the seaside town of Coleraine. At the Belfast campus we heard inspiring presentations from Admissions, International Studies, and Career Services professionals. Since the Belfast campus is academically focused on art, we had the opportunity to see a remarkable amount of student work around the institution. In addition to allowing students to showcase their creative endeavors, the institution proved itself to be forward thinking in how it widened participation to under-represented student populations in the UK. We continued to learn more about Widening Participation at the second Ulster University campus in Coleraine.

At the Coleraine campus we were hosted by Provost Karise Hutchinson and her spectacular team. Karise sat and shared the authentic story of her journey through Higher Education and Coleraine to reach her position, and the trials that she faced along the way. Her colleagues shared their outlooks in their functional areas and we spent the day not only learning about how they work, but also drawing on our learned experience in the CSA program to share our insights, ideas, and suggestions for improvement. That afternoon we spent learning and playing Gaelic Football with individuals in the athletic department. Their athletic department is working on becoming a more inclusive area for students and less focused on the highly competitive aspects we know in the States.

In the middle of the week we found ourselves at Queen’s University in Belfast, which is the largest university in Northern Ireland. This was the first institution we visited that had a Residence Life department akin to those we have in US. Like us, they have a hierarchy of professional and paraprofessional (e.g., Community Assistants) staff. Unlike the U.S., however, the CAs’ primary responsibilities at Queen’s are focused on building community, with minimal focus on policy enforcement or crisis response. Other functional areas at Queen’s also discussed the importance of student inclusion around campus, especially because they have a high population of international students. This was made evident when we met with Stephen, the Student Union president, when he articulated the plan for making the Student Union building more accessible to all students. Many of the institutions we have visited this far have this same goal to create inclusive and accessible environments for their students to thrive.

Throughout our time in Belfast, we witnessed firsthand the political pulse of the community and the people living within it. Our cab drivers (who number well over a dozen), frequently shared personal stories about their lived experience during the “Troubles,” which was a decades-long period of violence, stemming from Northern Ireland’s status as a province of the United Kingdom, rather than a part of the Republic of Ireland. While we were assured that the bloodshed had long-since subsided, reminders of this period echoed in the memorial plaques affixed to the sides of buildings that were bombed, the exhibitions that filled the gilded City Hall, and the gates (nightly locked) positioned at strategic points along the ironically named “Peace Wall,” that separated politically opposing groups. In spite of these things, we found the city of Belfast to be remarkably welcoming, with a cultural atmosphere that exceeded all of our expectations.

— Erica Smith and Jonathan Gowin#HuskyAbroad #SAPro

Smith and Gowin are pursuing their Master's in Educational Leadership through Bloomsburg University's College Student Affairs (M.Ed.) program. They are among a group of CSA students studying abroad this summer for two weeks in Ireland, visiting several universities to develop an understanding of the structure and practice of college student affairs in Ireland and gain insight into international issues.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Discovering an Irish perspective of higher education

We made it! The Bloomsburg University College Student Affairs students have reached Ireland!

After a few people having delayed, missed flights and an hour delay in Newark due to thunderstorms, we have safely made it to Ireland! The plan for this trip is to visit eight different universities and learn about the higher education system in Ireland. After learning about them, we will be comparing Ireland’s and America’s higher education system.

While taking in the in the Irish culture through visiting some of Ireland’s colleges and universities as well as exploring the different cities, we will better understand higher education in Ireland.

The first university on the trip is University of Limerick. We had a full day meeting with university officials, as well as students. Even though students were done for the semester, the campus still has post-grad students who where taking classes. We met with admissions — both undergrad and postgrad — and got a good grasp on how admissions works in Ireland. All colleges and universities in Ireland use one application process to apply to colleges similar to the Common App, but every higher education institution uses it.

We also got to speak with the Student Union, which is equivalent to our CGA. It was interesting because the students who are in positions in the Student Union take a year off to hold their positions while in the United States, students are in CGA as they're still taking classes.

The day ended with a tour of UL’s beautiful campus that included the Living Bridge, which is an area where students can use it as more than just a bridge — a bridge to do homework, play music, and hand out with friends.

Overall, we had a great time at University of Limerick. It gave us basic understanding of how higher education works in Ireland. Our next stop is Ulster University!

— Pooja Daya, #HuskyAbroad #SAPro

Daya is pursuing her Master's in Educational Leadership through Bloomsburg University's College Student Affairs (M.Ed.) program, as well as serving as a graduate hall director for the Jessica Kozloff Apartments. She is among a group of CSA students studying abroad this summer for two weeks in Ireland, visiting several universities to develop an understanding of the structure and practice of college student affairs in Ireland and gain insight into international issues.