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Contest Winner Happy About Win, Student Involvement

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As Penn State freshmen arrive to campus in late August, many begin their college journey by making new friends from all areas of the globe, following maps to classes, piling up trays with unlimited food at the dining halls, adjusting to dorm life, and taking their first spoonful of Creamery ice cream. But one freshman mechanical engineering major started her Penn State experience just a little differently. Siri Maley of Exton, Pennsylvania, won the Eberly College of Science NameMe contest to rename the east wing of Ritenour, an 88-year-old campus building.

The NAME ME contest, open to all Penn State students, gave them the opportunity to potentially rename the east wing of Ritenour Building. Siri’s winning submission was S. Colbert (Science Center of Learning: Bringing Educational Resources Together) after Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert of the Colbert Report. “I like Colbert, and I like his show. He’s really funny, so I think this just seems fitting,” Siri said.

 

Although S.COLBERT is the popular vote winner, the name of the center has not been decided yet. Dean Daniel Larson is working with Penn State higher administration to determine the name of the center, with a decision being made soon.

 

Siri wasn’t alone in her enthusiasm for the political comedian. A group of Penn State Colbert fans created a Facebook group 1,617 members strong, administrated by sophomore Ian Weissman. Group members pitched in ideas for the S.COLBERT acronym. “I adapted off the Facebook group when everyone was posting ideas on that,” Siri said about her submission.

 

Siri said the Eberly College of Science connected Penn State students to their university by giving students a voice in a unique way. “I think the contest was really good for student input, so we feel more involved with what’s going on,” she said, “Hopefully more students will use the center now since more people know about it.”

 

Siri is looking forward to her next four years on the Penn State campus knowing she has helped to make something her own. “It’s going to be really neat if I walk by and see it’s named after Colbert.”

 

The contest brought in 1,914 total votes, and 85 percent of those votes were for Colbert alone. Therefore, Siri said, she couldn’t believe her eyes when she found out her vote was the popular winner. “I was definitely surprised and shocked to see my name on the Web site. I thought it was a mistake,” she said. Her family and friends were also excited for her contest victory. “My mom probably thinks I like Colbert a little too much,” she joked.

 

Although many students, faculty, and staff have been trying to contact the Colbert Report, there has been no word—yet—about a response. However, Siri is more than optimistic about a positive outcome. She said, “I could see him coming to campus. It’s obvious that people really like him here. I could see that happening.”

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