What do a refrigerated truck driving across Pennsylvania, an ice-skating Nittany Lion and the City of Lights have in common? They are all part of the fun of belonging to the Penn State Lehigh Valley Alumni Society.
The Penn State Lehigh Valley Alumni Society is an alumni group that reaches out to all alumni who attended the Lehigh Valley campus for some or all of their Penn State college days as well as those alumni living in the Lehigh Valley area in eastern Pennsylvania. The group seeks to connect alumni to each other as well as to current Penn State students through a variety of events and programs.
One of the most popular programs is a scholarship fundraiser that brings one of the best Penn State treats to alumni living three-plus hours from University Park—Berkey Creamery ice cream. The annual fundraiser brought in more than $3,000 in 2010 for the first-year scholarship fund by selling 1,866 half gallons of ice cream, which an alumni volunteer picks up with a refrigerated truck from the Creamery. The event was so successful that the group has scheduled a second fundraiser for this spring.
Two of the society’s events are family functions featuring the Nittany Lion. During the winter, it’s an ice-skating event with the Lion, and in the summer, it’s miniature golf. The ice skating event attracted more than 80 people this January, while the golf outing typically attracts approximately 40 people.
“We understand that many alumni have children and can’t come to a happy hour,” said Katie Wells ’03, president Lehigh Valley Alumni Society.
The alumni society also runs something a little different from other alumni groups—a tour to an international location each spring. This year, they are heading to Paris and Brussels. While there, the group enjoys a reception with alumni living in that area. During the last trip to London, the reception was a huge success, with many London-based Penn Staters attending.
“The international connection is pretty cool,” said Wells. “The goal is in the fifth year of these tours to have a reception back in Lehigh and bring back all the people who participated in it.”
The society also collaborates with the Lehigh student chapter of the Blue & White Society for a spring bus trip to the Blue-White Game at University Park. Last year, approximately 25 students and 25 alumni made the trip together to Happy Valley.
Working more closely with students is a goal for the remainder of Wells’ term as president. This past year the society formed a new committee for THON to help students on campus raise money for The Four Diamonds Fund.
“For those involved, it had a very positive effect,” Wells said. “We really want to interact more with students, and we’re working toward that.”
While the society is directly attached to the Penn State Lehigh Valley campus, all area alumni are welcome and encouraged to participate in all the society’s programming. The society averages 15 board members at its monthly meetings and most events draw 50 to 100 people.
“We have board members who have never touched foot on the Lehigh campus before this,” said Wells. “Then we have alumni who never went to University Park, like me. It’s a good mix of people.”
For more information on the Lehigh Valley Alumni Society, visit www.psulvalumni.org. For more information on how you can get involved with an alumni group in your area, visit www.alumni.psu.edu/group.