Year after year, the Annual Student Sendoff is a chapter highlight. This year, the Orange County-Inland Empire Area was faced with lemons due to COVID-19. On August 13 they were turned into lemonade for 15 students, 3 parents, 1 guest, PSAA Regional Director Misha Demchuk and 9 Board Members.
Chapter V.P., Valerie Stokes ’09, skillfully led the presentation, kicking off with Penn State music, hometown and campus word clouds, flawless transitions, and great enthusiasm.
From there, board members introduced themselves holding one of their many cherished Penn State possessions including a 1960’s pledge paddle, a 1982 National Championship Penn State Coke bottle, and a 2006 rally towel! The OCIEA chapter board represents every decade since the fifties.
Guest speaker, Akhil Maheshwari, ’20, Lion Ambassador and Alumni Ambassador shared memories of his freshman arrival, his first ever college football game, and his last 5 months at University Park. He reassured new and returning students that although things will be challenging, they will be totally worth it.
Newest member of the Board, Caitlin Brennan ’13, spoke about World Campus and tips for studying virtually. Also new to the Board and THON AIG, Lauren Nelson ’18, encouraged students to seek out and participate in extracurricular activities to explore existing or potential new interests.
A Penn State-PA trivia contest resulted in 3 student winners, and even the alumni learned some new things about Penn State. Breakout rooms for smaller groups provided an intimate way to chat about high schools attended, majors, packing tips, and cultural opportunities ahead. Students were reminded to keep a journal of their experiences especially during this unique college environment.
An inspiring wrap-up speech by Scholarship Chair, David Wolfe ’94, reminded the students that they are not alone in their journey. The OCIEA chapter is there for them by email, social media, and when they can all meet in person. He encouraged them to apply for our Student Scholarship every year. We all envied and wished the best and brightest from Orange County and the Inland Empire a safe and wonderful year at Penn State.
The Student Sendoff was one of several successful virtual events the chapter has hosted this summer. Make sure to visit www.ocpsu.com or follow us on social media (@ocpsu) for upcoming events and news. #love4psaa