It’s Homecoming weekend for Penn Staters. I was hoping to be there, but there are a slew of personal and professional things I want to focus on that will keep me away from State College.

This spring will mark four years since a small group of Penn Staters came together as volunteers around the idea of “cultural conservation,” because we shared a vision for a new community voice able to do for a community’s spirit what traditional conservancies do for a community’s soil.

Nittany Valley Press has created a platform for stories to be shared. Another project that’s been in the works practically since we came together relates to Penn State’s history, and though this project has had to operate on the glacial timeframe of the university, I think we’ll be able to share the fruits of this work sometime next year.

But the specifics aside, the consistent challenge for volunteer initiatives is ensuring that vision corresponds with momentum. In other words, the consistent challenge is ensuring each person knows how to be useful to everyone else in light of limited time.

Like Homecoming itself, our gathering of friends around a shared cultural/community purpose is a chance to go back in time, encounter flashes of the past that brought you to where you are now, and prepare you to leave again energized and hopeful for the future.

We’ve achieved a lot in these first few years together, and hope to do more in the years to come.