Undergraduate Life at PLE


"This place rocked my socks off - and they were on pretty tight!"

- PLE student evaluation


Students always have great things to say about PLE. They love the instructors, they love the great learning environment, and they appreciate the good friends they make when they're here. PLE is a great place to take a field course, whether you are a resident or commuter.


Please download and read the PLE Welcome Packet pdf  



What to do when you first arrive at PLE


If you prefer to commute to PLE each day, you should plan to arrive at the Sanctuary Lake Site (i.e. the classroom site) at 8am on the first day of class to fill out some simple paperwork, purchase textbooks, and pay lab fees. After a brief orientation at 9:00 am, your session is underway!


For many students, PLE is a bit too far to commute every day. If that's your situation, come stay in our dorms on the shores of Pymatuning! If you would like to reside in the dorms , you don't need to reserve a room ahead of time. Just arrive at the Housing Site on the evening before classes (between 4 pm and 6 pm). At this time, you can meet the PLE staff, fill out some simple paperwork, and pay your room & board, textbook, and lab fees. After settling into your room - and meeting your new roommates - you can check out the lounge area where there are computers (DSL internet) and newly renovated bathrooms. If you have your own computer, you can connect to the wireless network. After taking a walking tour along the lake, you can stroll over to our air-conditioned dining hall for dinner at 6:00 pm.


Living at PLE

We have all of the necessary accommodations to meet your needs: a comfy bed, delicious catered food, and plenty of friendly faces. Your bed is located in either the men's or women's dorm. Both dorms were completely renovated for the 2016 season and are cleaned every day by our housekeeper. A lounge area in each dorm serves as a social center along with desktop computers that are connected to the internet. If you have a laptop computer, you can also take advantage of our wireless internet access.

The food is wonderful! All meals are provided by a local caterer and are served in our newly renovated, air-conditioned Dining Hall. You'll start every morning with a large continental or hot breakfast (Monday - Friday, 7:30-8:30 am) and then pack a lunch for your day in the field (remember to bring a water bottle to carry a beverage for lunch!) The day is topped off with a delicious dinner from 6:00-7:00 pm.

Student on a bunk bed

After breakfast, head out for the classrooms (at Sanctuary Lake) in the university vans (these are usually driven by the instructor or teaching assistant). A brief orientation will be given at 9:00 am and then your session is underway!

After dinner, you can mingle with your classmates, enjoy the lake-view, watch the eagles fly overhead, try to spot the herons, take a canoe ride, or explore the area. Weather permitting, we'll gather around the campfire later in the evening.

You are welcome to stay at PLE on the weekends, although many students go home to be with their families. However, meals are not provided from Friday dinner through Sunday dinner, so keep this in mind if you choose to stay the weekend. There are refrigerators available in which to store your food, and local grocery stores to help you stock up before the weekend.

Recreational opportunities

Students Playing Volleyball

During your free time, there are incredible recreational opportunities! There are canoes, a volleyball court, and a horseshoe pit. In the Recreation Hall there is a fireplace, satellite tv, a pool table, and ping-pong. Nearby are beaches for swimming and sunning, and trails for hiking, biking, bird watching, and running. The entire site is also served by high-speed wireless internet.

A vehicle is not necessary, but it is very convenient for driving to nearby grocery stores, banks, parks, beaches, restaurants and ice-cream stands. Parking at PLE is always freely available. The PLE staff members are always friendly, ready, and willing to help you at any time. We hope you enjoy your time at PLE and we look forward to seeing you return for another summer of learning and fun!


"You won't want to leave, seriously!"

- PLE student evaluation


Remember, if you have any problems, come over to the Administration building at the Sanctuary Lake site. We have a friendly staff waiting to help!

Office hours: Mon-Fri 8am - 4pm

Phone: (814) 273-0416