The weekly Coffee Hour series requires various tasks to be completed throughout the week. These responsibilities are covered by the first year graduate students in the department.

Your cohort should create an online spreadsheet or other means of dividing up the Coffee Hour tasks as described below for each week of the semester. A suggested division of responsibilities is:

Poster: 1 person

Coffee and Setup: 2-3 people

Breakdown and Cleanup: 2-3 people

In the past, the coffee hour responsibilities have been divided between 3 students per week (buying the food, setup, & cleanup).


The most important thing to keep in mind about Coffee Hour posters are the printing deadlines. Posters are not judged for lack of artistic value as long as they manage to announce the upcoming Coffee Hour talk clearly. Latest poster instructions courtesy of Angela Rogers.

Example posterEdit


Sample Coffee Hour Poster


There are two deadlines on Coffee Hour poster. First is when the poster is due to Angela for printing:

  • For regular Coffee Hours, posters are due to Angela one week before the talk.
  • For Miller Lectures, posters are due to Angela two weeks before the talk.

Second is when poster is due to be displayed:

  • Posters should be displayed in their designated areas on Monday on the week of the talk.


  1. Create a poster according to the guidelines below.
  2. Send a PDF, Powerpoint or InDesign file with your poster to Angela Rogers (
  3. Collect the printed poster from 316 Walker (Angela's office).
  4. Display the poster in the designated spots (more details provided below).

Format requirementsEdit

Posters should be 8.5 by 11 inches and must have a ½ inch border. All photos and graphics should have the resolution of at least 300 dpi. Poster orientation is not important — it can be either landscape or portrait.

There is a specific template for Miller Lecture Coffee Hours — see Angela for a copy.

Required contentsEdit

The following information must be included in every poster:

  • Title of the talk.

    Department of Geography Wordmark

  • Name, title and affiliation of the speaker.
  • Title of the event, i.e. "Department of Geography Coffee Hour presentation".
  • Date, time and location (112 Walker Building) of the talk.
  • Time and place (319 Walker Building) where the refreshments will be served.
  • Department of Geography wordmark (as seen on the right).

Beyond this list, students are welcome to add any content they see relevant and be as creative as they wish with the design of the poster. A good place to mine for talk-related information is the Department of Geography Coffee Hour site.

Some specifics: 

Location information must say "Walker Building" and not simply "Walker"

Time information must be in the format 4:00 p.m. with the minutes , a space, and p.m. with periods.

Printing the posterEdit

Make sure to turn in your poster by the deadlines mentioned above. Once you turn it in, Angela will inform you if any corrections are necessary. It is the student's responsibility to take care of any required edits to the poster. Once approved and printed, Angela will send you an email notifying you that the poster is ready to be picked up from 316 Walker (Angela's office).

Displaying the posterEdit

25 copies of poster will be printed out. Those should be displayed in high-traffic areas (near elevators, waiting areas, etc.) of the following buildings:

  • 10 copies in Walker
  • 4 copies in EES
  • 2 copies in Deike
  • 2 copies in Hosler
  • 2 copies in Steidle
  • 1 copy in Starbucks
  • 4 copies in any other places you deem to be of importance. If the speaker is from another department at Penn State, it may be a good idea to put a few posters in the speaker's building or the building of his/her college.


Coffee percolator has to be up and running for at least 45 minutes before the coffee is drinkable. As it takes time to fill it up with water and coffee, it is best to start one hour before coffee is due, i.e. at 2.30 pm.

Brewing InstructionsEdit

  1. Take the percolator filter (basket-like thing) out and fill it with about 3/4 of an inch of coffee.
  2. Using the plastic pitchers in the lunch room, fill the percolator with water. Use the built-in water level. DO NOT overfill. Percolators don't fit into the sink, so use a pitcher or anything else that's handy.
  3. Insert the percolator tube into the percolator and make sure it fits snugly into the hole.
  4. Slide the percolator filter over the tube.
  5. Cover the filter with the spreader plate (a sieve-like lid).
  6. Put the percolator lid on.
  7. Plug the percolator in and check that the button on the side is lit.

Once the percolator starts working, do not lift the percolator lid. The way a percolator works is by throwing boiling water upwards through the percolator tube and against the closed lid. If the lid is off, it will spray you and your surroundings with boiling water.

Coffee refillsEdit

Coffee Hour coffee is purchased and refilled by the department. Although it is the duty of the clean-up crew to notify the department when coffee runs out, they frequently forget to do so. It is, therefore, quite wise for the coffee crew to check on the supplies a few days before the coffee hour so that there's no need to rush to the store at the last moment. When new coffee is purchased, it's a good idea to put a sticky note on it that says "Coffee Hour only" so that others in the lunchroom do not use it.


A wide range of refreshments have been served for past coffee hours, ranging from the simple (e.g. cheese and crackers) to the more elaborate (e.g. homemade sushi). Two grad students are typically in charge of organizing the refreshments for a given coffee hour. They are given a total of $25 to cover the costs of the refreshments or ingredients used. Itemized receipts of refreshment purchases must be acquired, and given to Marnie, in order to receive a reimbursement.


Take down any tables and chairs in 319 Walker and stack them in the periphery of the room. Put one or two tables in the center to hold the refreshments. Set up a couple of chairs on the edges of the room in case anyone wants to sit down (most people stand, though). Also set up a table in the hall for the coffee and tea fixings.


After the lecture has ended approximately at 5:00 pm, cleanup begins. Clean up involves refrigerating, taking home or throwing away leftover refreshments (do NOT leave them in the lunchroom refrigerator), washing dishes, utensils, platters, and silverware that were used during coffee hour, rinsing the percolaters, repackaging them, putting away all plastic and paper products used for coffee and refreshments, and restoring 319 Walker to its original layout by putting the tables and chairs back into a shape of a circle for meetings/seminars. The cleanup crew also has the very important task of notifying the main office of what items need to be replenished, i.e. coffee, creamer, stir straws, for the following week.