Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What we do...

Welcome to the blog of the Penn State Altoona History Society. As we begin the Fall semester, many students, whether freshmen or seniors, look to become more involved with student organizations as well as the community. This society offers the opportunity to do both. Throughout each Fall and Spring semester, our group hosts and assists a number of historical and cultural events throughout the central Pennsylvania region. We are dedicated to keeping history alive through interpretation, volunteerism, scholarship, and activism. Still have questions? Check out our information below.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Do I have to be a History major to join? Does it cost anything?
No. Any interested student or faculty member of Penn State Altoona is welcome to join the history society. We have members majoring in everything from Mathematics to English. You don't have to be a well-versed scholar of history to get involved! Furthermore, membership is free!
  • What kind of work do you perform on campus and in the community?
We take part in many worthy projects. Our group is involved with the Blair County Historical Society, a local non-profit museum and historic site. Each semester, we aid the Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg National Military Park in their landscape restoration. We also become involved in other community projects as they become available. On campus, we are happy to help you with research and learn more about professions in the history field. In addition, we host monthly history movies in the Hawthorn Building as well as military history encampments each April.

Finally, we host guest speakers to discuss historical people, places, and events. Past discussions have talked about the American Indian Movement, the Holocaust, the Irish War of Independence, and the Battle of Gettysburg.
  • What are the monthly History Films?
Each month the society hosts a history-related movie in the Hawthorn Building. These are free, open to the public, and free popcorn is always served. Films shown in the past year include Letters from Iwo Jima, 300, The Kingdom, The Day Lincoln Was Shot, and Eight Men Out. Some movies planned for this year are Public Enemies, Valkyrie, Mongol, Defiance, and more. Further details are forthcoming. Many professors offer extra credit for attending these films.
  • Do you get involved with the History Department?
Most definitely yes! Our group is essentially a partner of the history faculty and department. They are our greatest supporters when it comes to forming programs, trips, and projects. This partnership is a great one, especially for history majors, for it allows you to become better acquainted with the faculty in addition to learning more about education options and history/cultural professions.
  • What types of Field Trips do you have?
The History Society typically holds three to five trips per year, depending on student interest. This year, we hope to hold trips going to Mount Vernon: the estate of George Washington, Washington, D.C. and the National Mall area, Gettysburg National Military Park, and hopefully some more. Such excursions usually do not cost students more than $15, if even that. If you have any ideas for a field trip location, feel free to leave a comment below.
  • What can the Society do for me?
This group offers great opportunities to become involved with the local community and the faculty of the Altoona campus. You'll learn much in the process and get to know other students who share the same interest of history that you do. Our members can offer suggestions with research, projects, and vocational assistance in the history field. Becoming a member gives you one more thing to put on your resume. Several of our former members now work at museums, National Parks, and educational institutions throughout the country. There is simply no downside in becoming a member of the History Society.
  • What can I do for the Society?
In his inaugural speech, President John F. Kennedy reflected that public service goes both ways. We believe the same thing. One of the few things asked of you as a member is to attend or volunteer at our events when you are available or when you are needed. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising on campus, so members are encouraged to invite friends to programs as well. As stated earlier, all of our programs are free and open to the campus and general public.

It is our mission that the society will not only help you appreciate history more, but make others equally aware of the importance that history plays in our society. We hope that you will join us!

Feel free to leave any questions or comments below. Thanks!

Hundreds of students attended our Civil War encampment on campus last spring.

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