Hosting Visiting Students


As prescribed by the Graduate Student Association (GSA), the graduate students in the Horticulture Department will annually elect a representative to the GSA. The election and functions of the GSA representative(s) will be consistent with GSA policies. More information can be found at


All graduate students are welcome and encouraged to attend and participate in regularly scheduled department meetings. It is important that graduate students by part of the collegial atmosphere of the department, and active participation in meeting and other departmental affairs is a means to that end. As appropriate, graduate students will be named to departmental committees. Students should inform the department head if they wish to serve on any particular committee.


Prospective graduate students will often visit universities when determining their school choice. This short stay is indispensable to both student and department members since critical impressions and observations are formed at this time. The following guidelines for hosting visiting students serve to create a positive, friendly, one-on-one visit for potential Horticulture students thanks to the combined efforts of Hosts, Guides, and Sponsors. An ideal visit is one that is characterized by sound organization and shared responsibility, ultimately leaving the student with an excellent impression of the Department of Horticulture and Penn State.

A visiting student and faculty sponsor agree upon the time of visit, estimated time of arrival, and number of visitors (i.e. self, spouse, and child). This information is then distributed to graduate students who will act as either hosts or guides. Hosts provide accommodations including lodging (private shower, towel, food) and transportation information whereas Guides act as tour guides by showing visitors around the department, campus, and surrounding area. However, the Host will not by responsible for coordinating the Visitor's itinerary, travel, meals, or entertainment; these are decisions to be made by the Sponsor and Visitor. Furthermore, the Sponsor will provide Host, Visitor, and Guide with a copy of the Visitor's itinerary no later than the day prior (24 hours minimum) to the Visitor's estimated time of arrival.

Prior to volunteering, Hosts and Guides are encouraged to seek assurance for financial reimbursement from the Faculty Sponsor for out of pocket expenses incurred during the Visitor's stay. In other words, you should not be paying for his/her dinner or groceries. Hosts and Guides will coordinate activities with the Faculty Sponsor. Copies of the proposed itinerary with names, addresses, and phone numbers should then be given to all parties involved.

The Host will contact the Visitor to give directions, arrange meeting time, and offer a warm welcome. Evaluation forms will be available to Sponsors, Hosts, Guides, and Visitors regarding communication, itinerary, transportation, and time management. Feedback allows us to strive for consistent high quality of this service.

Any questions should be addressed to Dr. Kathy Brown at 814-863-2260.