LION Welcome Event planned for Aug. 26

University Park, Pa. -- Members of the State College and Penn State communities will join together for the second annual LION (Living in One Neighborhood) Welcome Event on Wednesday, Aug. 26. The LION Welcome Event was launched at the start of the school year last August to encourage positive town-gown relations. The event welcomes students who are moving into off-campus neighborhoods and also reaches out to permanent residents to bridge the divide that might otherwise exist. The effort was so successful last year that it is expanding this year to cover a wider swath of town.

The event will begin with an information session and light refreshments at 5:15 p.m. in the Community Room at the State College Municipal Building. Then between 6 and 8 p.m. groups of four people including a mix of University representatives, students, borough officials and police officers, will walk door-to-door through select neighborhoods where there is a mix of students and permanent residents to welcome students back to State College for the new school year. The groups will share packets of information with the students they meet. The packets will include tips for hosting safe parties; information on dangerous drinking; pointers on how to be a good neighbor; ordinance details regarding trash, noise, parking and recycling; and emergency contact information. The groups will be visiting approximately 500 homes in the Highlands, Holmes-Foster and College Heights neighborhoods of State College.

The LION Welcome Event is a collaborative effort sponsored by the Penn State Division of Student Affairs, the State College Borough, and the Off-Campus Student Union. Penn State President Graham Spanier, State College Mayor Bill Welch, and the Nittany Lion will serve as the vanguard group of walkers.

The program is derived from similar initiatives at Colorado State University, University of Colorado and Texas A&M University. Based upon their experiences, programs such as this have been successful in fostering better neighborhood relations between student and permanent residents. As a result, these communities have benefited from safer, cleaner and generally more inviting neighborhoods.

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Last Updated August 20, 2009