Is it a gob or a whoopee pie?

Is this a whoopie pie or a gob?

Photo courtesy of http://www.foodnetwork.com

Some of us were sitting in the Command Center of the Strategic Visioning Project recently and a discussion came up. I said I wanted the gob that I had in my bag and Em asked, with a puzzled look on her face, what a gob was. Long story short, gob or whoopee pie, it’s the same thing depending on where you live and apparently, the term “gob” is pretty exclusive to Western Pennsylvania.

According to the story, the coal miners of the area carried them in their lunch buckets to work and the tasty, cream-filled confection looked like lumps of coal on the piles at the mines, hence the name “gob.” Most people call these things Whoopee Pies, hence Emily’s confusion when I said it.

This little conversation led us to embark on an entire discussion about dialect, what words and pronunciations were used, and where in the country they were used. We found the locations of the pop/soda/coke debate and apparently “pop” is said in the northern half of the country, and here I thought it was a Western Pennsylvania thing only. I thought wrong.

I have to say that this is what will sometimes happen when a small group of journalism graduates, current students, and one food and nutrition major from the northeast, talk about when they’re thrown into a room together. We get on the subject of words and their meanings and origins. Trust me; this really does make for a lively conversation.

So you people out there in cyber-world may be wondering… what does this have to do with the Strategic Visioning Project? Well, we were learning a bit more about each other in terms of dialect and that leads us to this project.

The word “diversity” has come up so much in the focus groups and interviews about IUP and what makes it distinctive. My opinion is that when people were using this word, they were talking about the different ethnicities and demographic areas in which students were from. With a student population of roughly 15,000, this university has students from all over, from across the state, across the country, and even from around the world.

We have a melting pot of students that while it probably isn’t unique to just IUP, it gives us a chance to dive into other areas and/or cultures, and creates an interesting learning experience; even if it is just talking about words and meanings.

So what is it to you? A gob or a whoopee pie?

–Shawna McCutcheon

Who said Stephen King doesn’t have some wisdom?

Playing off one of the previous blog posts about the sidewalk, I thought I would add my own perspective.

An old footpath

An old footpath

We were talking about the history of IUP and the muddy path that used to be under the new sidewalk when Michele mentioned there was a quote by someone famous about not pouring a sidewalk until you find out where people were walking, and then create the sidewalk.

So, on to Google I went, in search of the person who said this so long ago. It was thought that Andrew Carnegie was the one who said it but the only reference I found was something by Eisenhower, so that didn’t give me concrete evidence on which one said it. However, in the process of looking at quotes, I found something from my favorite author, Stephen King:

“You could start at a path leading nowhere more fantastic than from your own front steps to the sidewalk, and from there you could go… well, anywhere at all.” ― Stephen KingIt

Apparently, this came from his novel, It, which still freaks people out to this day. I guess he does his job well. But that isn’t the reason behind this blog post, even though I can sit and talk about his books for hours, if not days.

Stephen King's "It"

Stephen King’s “It”

So, let’s break King’s quote down and apply it to our Strategic Visioning Project because I think it really fits. In all reality, though, this quote can be used by anyone.

We are working toward something huge on this strategic visioning project, and I can say that this quote fits. In other words, we’re running focus groups, holding private interviews, collecting and analyzing the data that we are gathering, and it is very much a journey. That journey really does start at a front door: IUP’s front door.

I, for one, really love this campus and I love the education I have received here. I loved my bachelor’s program so much that I’m continuing on to get my masters… and that has been my journey which started on my sidewalk and led me here.

For me, the history of IUP is intriguing. Starting out as a teaching college for women and growing into the multi-college university that it is today, speaks of how the sidewalk here has evolved and grown. I bet the people who started this place when the only building was Sutton Hall never envisioned something like this, and I truly hope that if they are up there somewhere looking down on us, they are grinning from ear to ear.

Sutton Hall

Sutton Hall

Breezedale

Breezedale

The sidewalks of this campus have really changed from those old mud paths the students used to trek upon, and in full-length dresses to boot. This project will hopefully expand on the sidewalks of today and move them into a place that, in another 150 years, we who live in this era, will look down with face-splitting grins ourselves.

We hope with this project, the sidewalk to progress will make a huge difference in charting the school’s future and make it something future generations can be proud of.

I personally want to see the “party school” stigma to change. I was at a wedding reception recently and someone actually said the words I can’t stand in reference to this university, and those words were: IUP = I Usually Party. I wish that people who think that will come to realize that IUP is a great place to get an education. It’s a place where faculty and staff create a nurturing environment which enables students to learn and grow, practice their craft and truly be proud of their accomplishments.

The university acts as a front door for recent graduates to follow a new sidewalk out into a fantastic world where you can do anything. I can also mention the many sidewalks, both literally and figuratively, in which students have had to walk while receiving their education here.

Those of us working on this project want to take this amazing opportunity to help IUP create that new vision for this university. We want to create a written foundation in which to build upon and truly make IUP a place that makes a statement but also stands behind the statement it makes.

So Stephen King’s quote really is true as to the path from here leads… anywhere at all.

~ Shawna McCutcheon

Deceptive or Not?

While on our Facebook page, this graph caught my eye, so I clicked on it to see what it was all about. I’m curious to know, is this deceptive or not? While we’re constantly trying to get the word about our project and get people to participate, according to this, it seems that the number of people wFB Timelineho have viewed our page has exploded.

So why is this happening? Is it just because our posts are hitting friends of friends of friends of friends? Or are people genuinely interested in what we’re doing and looking for ways to participate? These questions may keep me awake at night. Seriously!

I hope it means that more people are actually looking at our page. That in itself would be a huge plus for our little group AND the university.

So what do you think? Are we generating traffic to our page?

~ Shawna McCutcheon

Yes. This Is Really Happening.

Shawna McCutcheon

Shawna McCutcheon

As a non-traditional student, I feel I bring a completely different perspective to the entire university experience than my younger classmates do. I worked in various low-paying jobs until I decided to go after my dreams of attending college and the fact that I’ll be the first one in my family to graduate a four-year program with my bachelor’s degree is a huge thrill.

Never did I expect such a huge opportunity to fall into my lap as this strategic-visioning project. As an undergrad, this type of thing just doesn’t happen and I’m more than thrilled to be a part of the process. The learning process alone is worth its weight in gold and the plus side is it will look great on my resume. I’m just glad to be a part of the entire process to try to create a better image for a university that I’ve grown to love.

About a year ago, Dr. Papakie told me she was going from a “gentle push” to an obnoxious shove” to get me out of my comfort zone and comfortable speaking to people. She definitely wasn’t joking and this project has really shoved me to new levels. I know I will be grateful for such a unique experience for the rest of my life.

~Shawna McCutcheon