The fourth wall : a Penn State Mont Alto student periodical. (Mont Alto, PA) 2004-????, September 01, 2004, Image 6

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    page 6
The Fourth Wall
Dinen Byrne
I am a twenty-nine-year-old
divorced parent of a twenty-
month old child and a new
student at Penn State Mont
Alto. I have been on my own
since I was seventeen and did
not have the resources to attend
college right out of high school.
Now, I am determined to fulfill
my dream of a college
education. :
My daily routine differs
greatly from the average college
student’s. At 4:30 a.m. I wake
up my daughter and take her to
the babysitter’s.
I work from 5 a.m. — 3 p.m.
Then I pick my daughter up
and go home to spend time
with her. We read, play, walk,
or go to the park. I make dinner,
and we watch a little television.
I give her a bath and have her
in bed by 7:15 p.m.
I then spend anywhere
from one to four hours an
evening playing catch-up from
home. When I am not
working, I am studying. I
normally get'to bed around
On Tuesdays and
Thursdays, I leave work at 9:15.
I arrive at class by 9:30, I return
to work by 12:30 p.m.
On Wednesdays I have to
arrange for a babysitter at home
so that I can attend class from
6:00 to 8:30.
On weekends I do my
grocery shopping, cleaning,
laundry, and general errands.
Most importantly, I spend
quality time with my daughter.
I am solely responsible for
my household and its expenses.
I am solely responsible for rent,
utilities, * car payment,
insurance, and student loans. I
am solely responsible for
doctors’ appointments and
unexpected emergencies.
Why do I do it?
I do it for myself and for my
daughter. I want her to see that
you can accomplish anything in
life if you're willing to work for
it . I am proud to say I am the
only person in my family to
attend college. It feels greatt As
busy as I am, and as much as I
life, I love the experience.
Since Mont Alto doesn’t
have near the operating
expenses that UP has, where is
your tuition money going? I
haven't a clue — and apparently,
neither does anyone else.
Ken Gill, Director of
Finance at Mont Alto, was not
able to give a breakdown of
exactly where the tuition
money of a single student goes.
The most detailed explanation
of tuition dispersion he has ever
seen was for the
Commonwealth Colleges as a
whole and was unable to say
where any of Mont Alto’s
tuition money goes.
Penn State is comprised of
twenty-four campuses across
Pennsylvania. Tuition from
each campus is pooled together
and unequally disbursed to
each campus, as decided by the
ruling class at UP. The campus
that can show the most need for
money gets the money. Part of
the technology fee we pay each
semester goes to UP, because all
of the networking equipment is
The students at Penn State
Mont Alto help to support the
students at every other Penn
State campus, and vice versa.
Your money may go to the
Hershey Medical Center, while
mine goes to help build the
Classroom Building at Penn
State Altoona.
The Fourth Wall will
continue its investigation into
where our tuition money is
Planning from page 5
Studies (HDFS) programs by
adding an the Early Childhood
Option to the associate degree.
Bachelor programs are also
under consideration in this
master plan. HDFS may soon
be expanding its education
option into a degree in
Elementary Education with a
Multicultural focus. A four-
year degree in Arboriculture or
Natural Resources
Management is also being
considered as a compliment to
our already excellent forestry
program. These forestry
students to complete four years
at Mont Alto and even allow for
the change of assigned students
from University Park.
Many sections of the
Program Statement focus on
the campus growth of adult and
non-traditional students. The
campus has recently established
a four year English program,
satisfying the requests of many
non-traditional students
seeking a Liberal Arts degree.
Finally, the Bachelor of Arts in
Business has already been
added to Mont Alto’s portfolio.
This program is flexible enough
be satisfied through traditional
class work or an integration of
traditional, online, and
independent study.
The addition of more four-
year programs will require a
different approach to student
services and an increase in
student space. The campus
community is finding growth in
under-represented populations.
As Mont Alto takes on new
endeavors and refines its
mission, it will also have to
consider the changing dynamic
of the campus community.
Several recommendations have
been made to strengthen the
student support services
including additional resources
for student internships and
cooperative education, the
addition of a multicultural
coordinator, and continued
support of student governance.
The campus is also exploring a
partnership with Head Start to
provide an on campus childcare
Athletics are also an
important part of student life.
The campus currently provides
for ten varsity sports as well as
intramural and club sports.
Mont Alto’s athletic facilities
mainly consist of the
Multipurpose Activity Center,
outdoor facilities, and natural
landscape. The master plan
focuses on strengthening the
current facilities and programs,
and the addition of varsity
sports. Much feedback was
made for the reinstatement of
varsity baseball. The campus is
currently finding resources to
add a free weight gym as well.
All improvements to, athletics
will become important as more
sports are moved to four year
eligibility and teams are
considered for NCAA Division
IIT athletics.
Student space is an ever-
growing issue on campus. The
Program Statement analyzed
available space and needs and
prioritized the use and future
acquisition of the land.
Academic spaces were
generally identified as
outdated. + The = current
Chemistry, Physics, PT, OT,
Biology, and other labs were all
considered inadequate due to
aged technology, shortage of
limitability of any expansions
in faculty and student research.
Dr. David Gnage, campus
C.E.O., remarked at the spring
town meeting, “Our equipment
is state of the art, for 1975” and
focused on the importance of
updating these facilities as part
of our focus of academic
excellence in teaching and in
The growth of student
spaces is another focus of the
Program Statement. This past
year the students of Mont Alto
were left without a game room
and meeting area through the
creation of the enrollment
management suit. Fortunately
the renovations to Wiestling
Hall took place over the
summer and now allow
students to meet and relax. The
campus envisions many more
cozy and comfortable spaces
for students to relax all around
Mont Alto in the future.
The Mont Alto library is
another major focus of the
master plan. The Program
Statement says that the facility
is currently unsuited for the
technological needs and
activities of a modern library.
The building itself is uninviting
and more like a “storage
facility.” The committee has
recommended an addition to
the library containing a
computer lab, exhibit space,
wireless laptop teaching lab, a
cyber-café for 24/7 use, and
major technology upgrades.
Now that the Program
Statement is complete, the real
fun of master planning can
begin. Over the next several
months the committee will
continue to meet and decide
what will best accommodate all
of the campus’s
recommendations. These
objectives will require a large
amount of space and we can
assume the addition of at least
one new classroom building.
Several programs will be added
and facilities will be upgraded.
The committee will also look at
synergistic ~~ relationships
between programs, facilities,
and community relationships to
make the best use of available
resources. At the conclusion of
the process the plans will be
sent to the PSU Board of
Trustees for final approval.
As a member of the master
planning committee this past
year I would like to proudly
report that all of the group’s
work was made with our
community in mind. Mont Alto
has made a wonderful home for
many students for over a
hundred years and this master
our traditions, build on our
strengths, and boldly become
our region’s leader in a
profession education.
aS A ESR LET. A ae vests
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