Penn State Alumni Stay in West Halls During Arts Festival Weekend

Jul 15, 2014

Room 304 in Hamilton Hall is transformed into a make-shift hotel room for Arts Festival. The dorm itself is sparsely furnished. But it includes every amenity one needs during a weekend getaway.

Each dorm room comes with its own bed, linens, towels, blankets, drawers, and closet. Soap and washcloths are complimentary.

Lindsay Cowen is the Assistant Director of the Penn State Alumni Association’s events team. She helped organize the weekend’s housing in Hamilton, and says the dorm’s location is perfect for Arts Fest.

“It’s an amazing experience,” Cowen said. “The majority of people want to stay in West Halls because Arts Festival is literally right there.”

At check-in, a number of eager visitors, including Joanne Stifler, file in front of the commons desk to pick up their keys. Joanne and her daughter come to Arts Fest every year and always look forward to a their Hamilton Hall vacation. They both lived in the dorms at Penn State while they were students.

“It feels more like being back home again,” Stifler said. “You don’t get that at a motel. People think I’m crazy because it’s hot and there is no air conditioning. And you don’t have your own bathroom, that kind of stuff. But I enjoy it. That’s why I come every year. I really enjoy it.”

Lee Shaw and his wife have visited Arts Fest the last five years. They stay in the dorms every year because of the convenient location.

“You walk outside and you’re right in the arts festival. You don’t need to get on a bus, or walk, or hope to park your car somewhere.”

This was the first year Paul Grab and his daughter Lauren stayed in Hamilton Hall.  Arts Fest is a family tradition for them. They come up almost every year. 

Lauren has been coming up “since she was little.”

“We brought her first maybe she wasn’t even a year old the first time we brought her up,” Paul said. “I don’t know if I still have that picture taken at the arts festival. There is a picture of her eating some creamery ice cream up at one of the lawns on campus.”

Arts festival gave about 600 alumni the chance to relive the dorm experience.