Students ready to return to University Park

August 21, 2003

In just about two weeks, the population of State College will double, as students return to Penn State University Park to begin fall semester.

Of the 42,000 or so undergraduate and graduate students scheduled to arrive between Aug. 25 and 29, roughly 13,000 will be moving into residence halls and apartments on campus. This normally causes traffic congestion and parking problems on the campus, but this year the difficulties will be magnified. Due to changes to the University schedule for fall semester and the occurrence of Penn State's first home football game on Aug. 30, this year's student arrival will be held during the workweek rather than on a weekend.

Because student arrival will occur when the University workforce is on campus, there will be considerable roadway and parking lot congestion. The Offices of Housing and Food Services, the University Police and Transportation Services have been working to coordinate traffic movements and parking locations for faculty, staff, students and the families of students.

To ease the expected congestion, students have been asked to arrive on a staggered schedule.

"These check-in times are aimed at avoiding traffic congestion during the times when faculty and staff are traveling to and from their offices," said Lynn DuBois, associate director of housing.

DuBois said that most freshmen have been asked to arrive between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 28. Upperclassmen are permitted to arrive between noon and 8 p.m. that day, and all students may check in between 9 a.m. and noon Friday, Aug. 29. There is no check-in scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 30, because of the football game. Beginning with Sunday, Aug. 31, students may check in at any time.

Students were sent a "Welcome Week" packet in the mail, with information on a variety of move-in related topics, including where to unload their vehicles and where they can park. The information also is on the Web, at

Faculty and staff also have an important role to play in making students' move-in experience as smooth as possible.

"We'd like to ask faculty and staff to do whatever they can to help these students and their families during what is a hectic, stressful, somewhat nerve-wracking process for them," said Rod Erickson, executive vice president and provost.

This includes making some temporary changes to normal routines, including how employees get to work, and where those who choose to drive may park.

"To make things easier for these students and their parents as they carry load after heavy load of belongings into the residence halls, we're trying to make as much parking available to them near the residence halls as possible," said Erickson. "To accomplish this, we're asking faculty and staff who normally park near the residence halls to investigate alternative transportation, or to park in the commuter lots between Aug. 25 and 29."

Teresa Davis, director of transportation services, said that as an incentive for employees to leave their cars home during the move-in days, the University has made special arrangements to allow faculty and staff to ride the CATA bus system to and from campus free of charge from Aug. 25 to 29.

"Faculty and staff will be able to show their University ID cards to the bus drivers, and ride the bus for free that week," said Davis. For CATA schedule information, check the Web at

Davis said that carpooling, riding bikes or walking to get to work on those days also would help to ease the overall traffic congestion on campus and downtown.

Those who do drive into work and normally park in the HUB Deck, Green E, Green C, Green D and Green G on Park Avenue are asked to park in the Stadium West and Jordan lots from Aug. 25 to 29. Those parking in other areas also may want to consider parking in these commuter lots, because driving through all parts of campus will be difficult.

"For those who choose to drive to campus and park in the commuter lots, the Campus Bus Service (Loop and Link) will begin operating on its full fall service schedule beginning at 4:45 a.m. Monday, Aug. 25," Davis said. "Between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., the Loop and Link will run every six to eight minutes."

Because offices will be open for business as usual during the move-in period, some offices may experience increased visits from students and their families who have questions about where to find what they need.

"For many of them, this is their first contact with Penn State faculty and staff," Erickson said. "It's important that we all do whatever we can to make them feel welcome."

Direct questions regarding available transportation alternatives or parking options during the upcoming arrival weekend to the Parking Office at (814) 865-1436. For information about move-in times or other housing questions, call Lynn DuBois at (814) 865-5423 or the Assignment Office at (814) 865-7501.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 20, 2009