Penn State’s second annual State of State conference was held today in a nearly full Alumni Hall, intending to engage the Penn State community.
The first segment was on student engagement and the importance of using education to springboard into worldly involvement.
“Engagement is about the process, unlocking a sense of humility…and impact comes from the outcomes of engagement,” Founding Director of the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship Program Khanjan Mehta said.
The topic of mental health was also discussed.
Julia Jacobs (senior-political science) said she struggled with obsessive compulsive disorder since she was 5 years old, and Sarah Kidder (junior-biobehavioral health) shared about her acute depression.
Bystander intervention and the need for more resources were talked about by other speakers.
Sexual misconduct became part of the conversation where the strongest message was one of basic communication: talk and listen.
In this segment, Maura Clark told the story of her rape to the audience.
Clark (senior-history and drawing and painting) said she had wanted to talk about it at first, but as people pushed her story aside, saying it was a lie, she reached a point where she didn't want to talk about it.
“So I am here to remind you to listen,” Clark said.
The final segment was focused on the Commonwealth, with Awele Ajufo’s experience at Penn State Abington.
Expecting to transfer to University Park in two years and find that “college experience,” Ajufo (sophomore-health policy and administration) said she came to realize it didn't exist.
“Don’t tell us that we aren't real Penn Staters,” Ajufo said. “Find the ‘I am’ in ‘We are’ wherever we are.”
Other speakers shared speeches on topics like their personal transition experiences and the need for a more united commonwealth.