Friday, October 26, 2007

The Two Worlds Dilemma

In 18 months I will be an alumnus of PSU Law. I will receive invitations to return, to engage with the law school, and to "give back." I find myself wondering how the Two Worlds Dilemma will affect alumni cohesion in the future. As of right now (with the exception of students who transferred to UP from other schools) there are no alumni who attended only University Park. The 2007 and 2008 UP classes will have spent at least one year in Carlisle, causing some connection to that campus. But starting with the class of 2009, the only way the school will graduate students like that is if the students transfer back and forth between the two campuses from year to year.

This observation struck me as I attended alumni weekend in Carlisle and wondered what future alumni weekends will look like. A dual campus law school has three options: 1) host alumni weekend in the same place every year and nuts to the other location, 2) host alumni weekends in both locations every year and nuts to the alumni office budget, or 3) host alumni weekend in both locations, but alternate with one year at Carlisle and the next year at UP and so on and so forth. Either way, it's likely that students who graduated from one location will be less interested in attending alumni weekend at the other location. How many alumni weekends do you attend for schools you never physically attended?

This dilemma presents a challenge, particluarly to the current students who are future alumni of PSU Law. What will we do about the Two Worlds Dilemma? Will we be able to bring the two worlds together post-graduation? Or, will we just be happy to enjoy our world and nevermind the other world? Perhaps a barrier to cohesion is the sense of uncertainty people feel regarding the ultimate future of the dual campus law school. For those wondering if this is a temporary arrangement, it may be hard to pour energy and effort into addressing the Two Worlds Dilemma without knowing if, or for how long, the two worlds will exist under "one roof." The general mood at PSU Law may feel unsettled until that ultimate question is answered. It's my hunch that once that issue is settled the alumni will then follow suit and get busy supporting their alma mater(s).

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