Among the Woo People: A Survival Guide for Living in a College Town

Among the Woo People: A Survival Guide for Living in a College Town

by Russell Frank


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In the mid-nineties, Russell Frank left a peaceful life in rural California to raise three kids in a town saturated with fraternities, late-night undergrad fast food haunts, and rowdy football crowds. Among the Woo People recounts his two decades living—and surviving—in State College, Pennsylvania, the often-chaotic home of Penn State University.

This humorous peek at life in a college town smack-dab in the middle of rural Pennsylvania chronicles a changing community over the course of two eventful decades. A professor of journalism, former columnist for the Centre Daily Times, and contributor to, Frank has a unique perspective on living in the shadow of a university—especially on the tribe of nomadic young adults known as the “Woo people,” so named for their signature mode of celebratory communication. He invites readers into the routines of his hectic household as they embrace their new home, skewers the culture of intercollegiate sports, relates the challenges and peculiarities of teaching at one of the nation’s largest universities, and, most important, teaches us to be amused at college-kid antics and to appreciate their academic and real-world accomplishments, even as we anxiously tick off the days until semester’s end.

From tales of missing porch furniture and red plastic cups in the bushes to a “Nude Year’s Eve” run by an octet of forty-somethings to the sweet relief of summer, Frank’s hilarious, insightful essays are indispensable for anyone who wants to survive, appreciate, and enjoy college-town life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780271079714
Publisher: Penn State University Press
Publication date: 10/15/2017
Series: Keystone Books Series
Pages: 248
Sales rank: 785,376
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.69(d)

About the Author

Russell Frank is a columnist with work in the Centre Daily Times, the Hill, the Conversation, StateCollege​.com, and other publications. He is also Associate Professor of Communications at Penn State University.

Table of Contents



Introduction: “We’ll Take It”

We Arrive. Will We Stay?

November 5, 1995

“We’re About Beer”

May 5, 1996

The President Buys an Ice Cream

May 11, 1996

Too Many Choices

June 9, 1996

First Fall

August 18, 1996

The Big Coat

January 19, 1997

The Lecture Circuit

February 16, 1997

Snow Bowl

November 7, 1997

Hold the Foam

June 14, 1998

Goodbye Newsroom, Hello Classroom

August 27, 1998

The Case of the Disappearing Porch Furniture

August 30, 1998


September 20, 1998

Go! Be! Do!

October 11, 1998


October 18, 1998

Images from Kosovo

April 18, 1999

The Provost Was Not Amused

June 13, 1999


July 4, 1999

Year of the Ant

September 5, 1999

Lies My Students Tell

October 10, 1999

We Need to Remember

November 14, 1999

Old Eyes

March 26, 2000

Let There Be Laundry

June 18, 2000

Lifeways of the Yard People

July 2, 2000

Naked Run

January 7, 2001

Toss It!

February 18, 2001

Mob Scene

April 1, 2001

When It Rains, It Floods

June 24, 2001

Don’t Expect to Be Bored

August 19, 2001

Back to School and Out the Door

September 2, 2001

Not Quite Business as Usual

September 16, 2001

Nothing But a Pack of Cards

September 23, 2001

The Solace of Routines

September 30, 2001

Little Idiot Children

October 7, 2001

Under a Dark Sky

October 21, 2001

Let Us Commence

May 12, 2002

No Magic Circles

October 6, 2002

Ship of Fuels

October 13, 2002

Questioning Authority

February 9, 2003

Zen and the Art of Driver Training

April 27, 2003

Keeping the Streak Alive

May 18, 2003

Movie Dog’s Last Reel

October 5, 2003

The Brats in the Frats

February 22, 2004

RIP Bop the Movie Dog

June 13, 2004

Welcome to the Diploma Store

February 20, 2005

Things Fall Apart

April 17, 2005

Liberals on the Loose

May 2, 2005

The Invisible Poor

September 11, 2005

Meet the Woo People

October 9, 2005

Leaf Ballet

November 12, 2006

All the Classroom’s a Stage

January 13, 2008

The Flower Within the Flower

May 11, 2008

In Defense of Those Pesky Gen Eds

October 2, 2009

The Pursuit of Liveliness

January 8, 2010

Tow Story

April 16, 2010

Straight from the Lion’s Mouth

May 7, 2010

I’ve Sneezed and I Can’t Get Up

June 11, 2010

Stand-Up Guy Seeks Position

June 25, 2010

Return of the Woo People

August 20, 2010

Must You Go?

November 5, 2010

Football’s Terrible Beauty

November 12, 2010

How to Rein in the Woo People, Part 1

November 19, 2010

How to Rein in the Woo People, Part 2

November 26, 2010

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Drunkenness

March 4, 2011

Secrets of the Woo People Revealed

April 22, 2011

Let the Joyous News Be Spread

May 6, 2011

Noise Essential to Woo Life

September 30, 2011

We Are—Going to Be OK

November 11, 2011

Seeing Something and Saying Something

December 15, 2011

We’ve Got to Get Ourselves Back to the Garden

February 3, 2012

So Many Opinions, So Few Facts

February 10, 2012

THON (Jekyll) vs. State Patty’s (Hyde)

February 17, 2012

The Fumbler and the Furnisher

April 20, 2012

Farewell to the Woo People

May 18, 2012

Things Are Just Peachy Around Here

July 20, 2012

As I Was Saying

June 4, 2014

Greetings from Zombie Nation

October 1, 2014

Welcome to Alt-State College

October 22, 2014

Ten Things to Be Thankful For

November 27, 2014

Who’s Naked Now?

March 24, 2015

Apples vs. Icebergs: Who’s Right?

April 1, 2015

Battle of the Bamboo

May 20, 2015

To Weed, or Not to Weed

July 15, 2015

In Search of the Cure for the Summertime Blues

August 19, 2015

Don’t Be Rattled

September 2, 2015

It’s Wonderful to Be Here, It’s Certainly a Thrill

October 14, 2015

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