Abandoned Penn State, Pandemic-Style

I had an appointment with an oral surgeon downtown on this afternoon, and so I parked on campus and walked down. It gave me a chance to stroll through our gorgeous campus space, which is completely deserted now. It is always quieter here during summer semester, but I'd describe the scene right now as something just shy of post-apocalyptic.

Penn State moved from face-to-face to remote learning in March, for the end of spring semester, due to the coronavirus lockdown. Summer was online, and they are still trying to figure out exactly what will happen for fall. But they have already stated that the students will be back for fall semester, with typically some 40,000 or so of them enrolled at University Park campus.

Above was the scene by our famous Nittany Lion shrine. Two new signs have been posted, regarding social distancing. The lion itself has recently "had a bit of work done," as they say. They did some touch-up on the ear that was broken off back in February of 2018, among other things.

West Halls is always a favorite scene on campus; I have been known to photograph it during all seasons of the year (see here, for instance). You may see a photo of its green and shady bowers in the extras, with its lovely benches and old-fashioned lamp posts.

The duck pond by the alumni center gardens boasts several turtles these days. And I was very excited to discover the newest member of the turtle squad, a teenie-tiny, adorable little fellow, on a nearby rock. He or she is also visible in the photo included in the extras. Hello, Tiny Turtle! Let's say it all together now: SQUEEEEeeeeeEEEEEeee!!!!

One of my favorite parts of working at Penn State for the 30+ years I've done so has been hanging out on our gorgeous campus. I've been working at home since March 16. I never thought I'd see the day that going onto campus would be something of a "rare treat" for me, but somehow here we are: this is abandoned Penn State, pandemic-style.

But when all of this is over, rest assured that Penn State will be right here waiting for you. The soundtrack song is this one: Richard Marx, with Right Here Waiting.

P.S. Later on this day, Governor Wolf announced new statewide restrictions on bars and restaurants, in response to a growing rise of new COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania.

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