As of a few weeks ago, Conserving Mount Nittany is available in the Penn State Bookstore on campus, along with Nittany Valley Press’s The Legends of the Nittany Valley. It’s very meaningful for me to see this happen.

Not just because I wrote Conserving Mount Nittany. Not just because I want to see more people learn about Mount Nittany. Not just because I’m on The Nittany Valley Society board. It’s mostly meaningful to me because we didn’t make it happen.

Alex Koury graduated in May and will be teaching in Japan later this year, and was working on a class research and writing project. After searching for information about Mount Nittany online, he came across our books and made Mount Nittany the focus of his semester writing project, relying on three of our books as his source material.

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What started out for him as a routine class assignment turned into something more. And by the time he had turned in his final report, finished the class, and was set to graduate, he went into Penn State’s Bookstore and suggested they carry the copies of our books that are now available in the Local Interest section.

I’ve never met Alex Koury. I’ve never communicated with him. I learned about all of this through board conversation.

But the way these books became available in the Penn State Bookstore is a perfect example of The Nittany Valley Society’s mission. Set aside the rhetoric, the programming, the finances, etc, and determine whether the mission has changed a single person’s life in some way.

Alex’s semester project is a witness that our mission changed a part of his life, and his wanting to help others have a similar experience through easier access to the books he encountered is a great example of how to pay it forward.

I’m going to see if we can share his report on The Nittany Valley Society’s website. At some point later this year hopefully we can share that.