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Great opportunities at hand to strengthen ties with Penn State Harrisburg: Editorial

Posted 2/7/18

We have discussed several times in editorials how important the presence of Penn State Harrisburg is to our community.

It brings in thousands of people to the area who spend money here, who live …

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Great opportunities at hand to strengthen ties with Penn State Harrisburg: Editorial

Posted

We have discussed several times in editorials how important the presence of Penn State Harrisburg is to our community.

It brings in thousands of people to the area who spend money here, who live here, and who enrich the area because of their skills and education.

We realize that not everyone feels that way. Maybe you live near the campus and don’t like the traffic. Maybe you feel students party too much. And, unfortunately, there is probably an element out there that doesn’t like the influx of foreign students. Racism is still in play in 2018.

And that’s unfortunate.

There are three candidates who are interviewing for the PSU Harrisburg chancellor post in the next few weeks, to replace the retiring Mukund Kulkarni. One of the chancellor candidates echoed very closely our previously stated belief: “There are communities that would love to have an academic institution as a driver in their community,” said John Mason, vice president for research and economic development at Auburn University in Alabama, who is also a PSU Harrisburg graduate.

Both the college and the community have a wonderful opportunity right now to grow the “town and gown” relationship.

The Penn State Harrisburg interview process would serve both sides well if the relationship with the community is part of the discussion. What would the candidates do to strengthen the ties? Are there specific ways that all sides can move forward together?

You can get a taste of what two of the three candidates have to say about it in the story on the front page, including more from Mason.

But there is also a good chance for you, the residents of the community, to play a part.

A Penn State faculty member has arranged a series of three forums to discuss the town-and-gown relationship. Susannah Gal, who happens to be on the Press & Journal Editorial Board, spearheaded these events that will be held on Sundays in February. Her column outlining some of the details can be read below.

These forums will approach the town-and-gown dynamic from three key angles. If you have any feelings about what works — or what doesn’t — we encourage you to go and voice your opinion.

Penn State Harrisburg is not going away. In fact, we hope it continues to play a larger role in the success of the community.

Any strides we can make to bring that important institution closer to the community, to enrich our lives here in Middletown, in Lower Swatara Township and all municipalities in the area, should be embraced.

A new chancellor. Forums to discuss the issues at hand. The potential exists. Let’s take advantage of the opportunity.