Eight ways to enjoy a spring day at Behrend

By Heather Cass, Publications Manager, Penn State Behrend

Spring has finally sprung and it looks like we will be enjoying some warm and sunny weather all week! Here are eight great ways to get outdoors and make the most of a beautiful spring day at Penn State Behrend.

*** Don’t forget to mask up; masks are still required at all times on campus, even outdoors. Photos below were taken prior to January 2020 or were taken with high social distancing measures in place. ***

disc golf

Play a round of disc golf. Penn State Behrend is home to a 9-hole disc golf course that starts in front of the tennis courts. Students, faculty, and staff can borrow discs for free at the Junker Center. Just ask the student worker at either entrance desks. Never played? It’s not hard to learn. For instructions, check out this story or this how-to video.

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Have a picnic. If there is no event going on (and there aren’t many right now), Wilson Picnic Grove, adjacent to the Wilson Lot, is available for use by the Behrend community. It’s open air and big enough to allow for social distancing.


Go to the gorge. Wintergreen Gorge on the edge of campus has winding wooded paths, gorgeous vista views and, if you walk down far enough, a babbling creek to wade in or skip rocks. There’s no better place to enjoy a spring day than in the gorge. Access it from trailheads behind Trippe Hall or in the back corner of the Prischak Lot.

Bayfront Connector Trail (1)_Tagged

Take a walk or run. The paved Bayfront Connector Trail starts at the corner of the Erie Lot and runs all the way to Erie’s bayfront (about 8 miles). The path meanders along the Bayfront Connector through fields, marshy areas, woods, and more. For more details, see this story. Need a 5K route? Check out this story from the archives.

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Play some games. Behrend has outdoor ping-pong tables (in front of Reed, behind Trippe) and a permanent cornhole game (behind Reed) as well as cornhole boards that you can check out and set up anywhere. You can borrow equipment for any of these games at the Reed Union Building desk with a University ID. They also have other lawn games, including giant Jenga and hula hoops, as well as checkers and chess pieces for the tables in front of Reed.

hanging out2

Read/study outside. Big test or paper coming up? Find a spot to work outdoors. There are tables outside most buildings and in the Wilson Picnic Grove, or you can just hang a hammock or spread out a blanket under your favorite tree. Behrend has plenty to choose from.

Erie sign

Hitch a ride to the bayfront. If you have a car, hop on the Bayfront Connector and take a walk along Erie’s bayfront. Park at the Blasco Library or near Dobbin’s Landing and take the bayfront trail along the waterfront. Cross the Bayfront Highway at the light at Liberty Park and take the ramp/walkway to Second Street to walk along the bluffs and take a photo at the new Erie sign. (About a 3-mile/1-hour walk). Just follow the bluffs/trail back down to State Street to return to your car. Don’t forget, you can take a city bus, too. See the RUB Desk for bus schedules.


Watch the sun set from the parking lot. The top of the Burke Parking Deck is the best place on campus to catch a gorgeous Erie sunset (or sunrise, but we know few students are early risers). It offers a wide, birds-eye view of the entire bayfront and, on a clear day, you can even see Presque Isle.

Behrend Reacts: What is your favorite thing about fall?


By Nicole Krahe
Marketing Communication Student Assistant, Penn State Behrend

Famous for our foliage, Erie has become a mecca for autumn leaf lovers, as well as those in favor of cooler weather.

With greens quickly becoming golds, reds, and oranges, we asked Behrend students what their favorite part of the fall season is.


Lakyn Hauptman, first-year student, Liberal Arts, from Titusville: “I like the colors of the leaves and the overall feeling of change. To me, fall is about happiness, being thankful, and spending time with your family.”


Shkurte Latifi, senior, Communication, from Kosovo: “Boots! You can wear anything with them.”


Rachel Frye, first-year student, Communication, from Pittsburgh: “Definitely the clothing. It’s cold enough to wear longer sleeves but warm enough that you don’t have to bundle up completely.”


Danielle Lee, first-year student, Childhood and Early Adolescent Education, from Erie: “My favorite thing about fall is the crisp air and my birthday in October.”


Molly Beth Black, Communication, Junior, from Oil City: “The weather is typically comfortable and the leaves are gorgeous, especially here at Behrend.”


Reagan Campbell, first-year student, Division of Undergraduate Studies, from Washington, D.C: “Bigger fashion catalogs! It’s not too hot or too cold so you can get away with wearing whatever you’d like. And the changing leaves, of course.”


Brian Boyd, sophomore, Sports Medicine, from Pittsburgh: “My favorite part about fall is the trees, especially around here. The scenery is really nice.”


Dan Kozubal, sophomore, Chemical Engineering, from Saegertown: “Definitely archery season. It’s a stress relief at the end of the week to go home, get up in a stand, and shoot my bow.


Lauren Blachowski, sophomore, Biology, from Philadelphia: “I love everything about fall! My favorite part is probably pumpkin picking and just being with my family.”


Burhaan Farah, sophomore, Electrical Engineering, from the Dominican Republic: “Where I come from, the weather is always very humid and hot. It cools down a lot in fall though, from early September to late November is perfect.”

Behrend Reacts is a regular Thursday feature at the Behrend Blog that tries to get the campus pulse on a current topic, whether it’s serious or trivial. If you have a question to suggest for Behrend Reacts, please email Nicole Krahe at ndk5089@psu.edu.

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Connecting Behrend to the Bayfront and beyond – Hit the trail!

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

I’m an avid runner and I live just a few miles from Penn State Behrend. Several years ago, when the Commonwealth was clearing land to make way for the Bayfront Connector, they ruined some of my best running routes. I harbored a grudge against the Bayfront Connector for a while because of that. But then, persuaded by the convenience of traveling to downtown Erie in 10 minutes, I reluctantly began using the road and noticed there was a meandering blacktopped path to the right of the road.

What’s this? Could they have thought of the runners and walkers and bikers? Could it actually run the entire length of the road? No, they wouldn’t have thought of us.

(Yes, I do tend to be skeptical, but in my defense, I worked for the newspaper for fifteen years and you just kinda end up that way when you’re a journalist).

I’m happy to tell you that I was dead wrong.

Trail history

Indeed, there is a wide paved recreational path (similar to the Multipurpose trail at Presque Isle State Park) that runs continuously alongside the Bayfront Connector from Penn State Behrend to Frontier Park on Erie’s west side.

The idea for a landscaped trail alongside the road took root during PennDOT’s public hearings about the planned connector.

“The trail really was a whole community effort,” said Ray Schreckengost, executive director of the Erie Western Pennsylvania Port Authority. “Bill Petit was the district engineer who incorporated it into the design.”

“There was a rallying cry from the community to ‘humanize the connector,'” Petit said. “We started to rethink the project, knowing that we needed to do something special.”

A committee of various interested community members formed and presented ideas to PennDOT. Soon, the meandering trail featured landscaping, decorative noise walls and stonemasonry dividers along the connector, was part of the plan Petit said.

How to get on the trail from Behrend

The Bayfront Connector trail entrance is in the back left corner of the Erie Lot, by the sign that says “Behrend Fields.”

You can also get on the trail from the Logan House on Station Road. Trailhead is to the left of the parking lot.

Where you can go (and mileage)

Distance via the Bayfront Connector Trail from Behrend (Erie lot entrance) to….

Shannon Road — 1 mile

38th Street — 1.5 miles

McClelland Ave. – 2 miles

Broad Street – 3.5 miles

12th Street – 4.5 miles

6th Street – 5 miles

Bayfront Parkway – 5.5 miles

Dobbin’s Landing (foot of State St.) – 6.5 miles

Frontier Park – 8 miles

The paved path ends at Frontier Park, but you can ride/run/walk down to Sixth Street and use the bikeway lane all the way to Presque Isle State Park for an 11-mile (one-way) trip from Behrend.

Here’s a map of the entire Bayfront Connector Trail  (with mileage markers) from Behrend to Sara’s restaurant at the foot of Presque Isle State Park.


It’s about 5.5 miles from Behrend to this sign at the foot of the bayfront where the Bayfront Connector meets the Bayfront Parkway (trail continues along Parkway).

It’s about 6.5 miles from Behrend to Dobbin’s Landing (above) at the foot of State Street.

It’s about 11 miles if you go all the way to Sara’s at the foot of Presque Isle State Park. Bring some money so you can refuel with a foot-long Smith’s hot dog, curly fries, and ice cream!

What you’ll see

There’s much more to be seen than grass and trees. It changes from the manicured green lawns of Penn State Behrend to an inner-city setting with factories and 6-lane intersections to a bustling bayfront with gorgeous lake views.

The Bayfront Connector has been designated a National Scenic Byway and is part of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, owing to the scenic vistas and intrinsic qualities that make it different from your run-of-the-mill ribbon of concrete slicing the landscape.


Good News: It’s all downhill from Behrend. Bad News: It’s all up on the way back (you know, when you’re good and tired). So, you may want to get a family member or friend to pick you up. (This map includes an elevation chart).

What you need to know

The path may appear to end at various roads/places along the way. It doesn’t. Just look ahead and you’ll see where it starts again.

One place that the trail pickup is not obvious is at State Street. To get on the trail again, cross State Street and enter the parking lot for the bait shop/miniature golf course. Run/walk/bike to the back of the lot and turn right and you’ll run into the path again just past the Bayfront Convention Center.


I’ve run/biked/walked this entire trail countless times myself, with friends, and with my kids and have never once felt unsafe on the trail, but it does go through the woods in some spots and it goes through areas of the city that some people avoid.

My advice: Take a friend and a cell phone. Also, I would not recommend using the trail after dark. The only portion of it that is lit is the part on Behrend property from the college to Logan House on Station Road.

Trail surface

Most of the trail is blacktop, which is kinder to a runners’ knees than cement and is great for biking/roller blading.

Winter use

The trail is not maintained (read: shoveled) in winter. Bad for runners/walkers/bikers — great for cross country skiers.


I’ve covered every inch of this trail/road by car, foot, and bike, and I’m happy to take your questions at hjc13 @ psu. edu.

So….what are you waiting for? Go explore!


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Story behind the Hanging of the Greens (the college’s oldest tradition)

Hanging the Greens

By Robb Frederick
Public Information Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

In December 1948 – just two months after the dedication of what was then called the Behrend Center – T. Reed Ferguson, the administrator of the new campus, placed a wreath on the doors of a small chapel in Wintergreen Gorge Cemetery.

That was a favor to Mary Behrend, who had donated her family’s Erie farm property to Penn State. She had moved to Connecticut and was unable to visit the chapel, as she had in years past. She asked Ferguson to hang the wreath in honor of her husband and son, who were interred inside.

Every year since, a small group of students, faculty members, staff and alumni has returned to the chapel. Holding candles, they sing Christmas carols and give thanks to the family that made Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, possible.

A reading

This year’s program will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6. Shuttle service will be offered from the Reed Union Building.

“It’s a very different feeling, when you gather in there,” said Ken Miller, senior director for campus planning and student affairs. “You’re singing Christmas carols. Everybody’s holding a candle. It’s special.”


The program honors Ernst and Mary Behrend, whose 400-acre farm property is now a four-year college with 4,350 students. It also pays tribute to their son Warren, who died on Dec. 19, 1929, while driving to South Carolina for a family holiday. He had swerved to avoid a school bus, which a 16-year-old student was driving.

No one on the bus was hurt.

Warren’s death devastated the Behrends. “They say Ernst never got over it,” Miller said.

Mary Behrend spent less time at the farm, choosing instead to live at the family’s home in Connecticut. In the spring of 1948, while returning from a cross-country trip, she stopped at the property. From a window, she noticed two men walking. She went out to talk and learned they were scouting land for a new Penn State campus. Within six months, they would have it.

Entering the chapel

6 spooooky things about Penn State Behrend


By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

In honor of the upcoming All Hallows’ Eve festivities, I dug up six spooky (and some just silly) things about Penn State Behrend.  Enjoy!

1. There’s a place in the Wintergreen Gorge on  the edge of campus called “Devil’s backbone.”


Devil’s backbone is the name given to the gorge’s highest vantage point in Wintergreen Gorge, about 250 feet above Four Mile creek. Read more about the gorge (page 13) and watch videos here (under “Extras from this issue”).

In the mood for a good ghost story? Check out this story we found online (but do not attest to): The Ghost Child of Wintergreen Gorge.

Speaking of enduring ghosts haunting campus…..

2. Ken Miller, senior director for campus planning and student affairs, has been working at Behrend since George Michael’s “Faith” topped the pop charts, “Heathers” was showing at the theatres,  and the average cost of a gallon of gas was just 91 cents.

Are we making him sound old? Nah, it’s only been 25 years. 😉 And, fortunately, he hasn’t lost his sense of humor…or that awesome ‘stache.

ken miller

Ken Miller, right, with his brother Tim outside of Lawrence Hall, circa 1989.

3. This tree by Wilson Picnic grove:

tree wart

According to Dr. Mike Naber, lecturer in geosciences, the “tumor” on this tree could be Agrobacterium tumefaciens that causes a plant disease called crown gall. Or, Nabor said, it is simply a “burl” caused by stress, injury, or a virus.

Or it could be a zombie calling card.

Speaking of signs from the dearly departed…

4. Bruno’s Café is named after a dead dog. Even spookier? Legend has it that said dog is buried on campus.

Bruno's Portrait

So, if you hear a German shepherd howling late at night…

5.  The cashier at the bookstore has gotten really thin.


Somebody get this guy a peanut butter sandwich.

6. This tree by Lilley Library:


While it’s shaped like a witch’s hat, this is actually a Purple Fountain Weeping Beech, native to Europe.

You know, Europe…where Transylvania is (just sayin’).

Happy Halloween, everyone!