Mark Johnson, a professor in technology and workforce learning, spent part of his day Wednesday demonstrating the finer points of rolling a bocce ball for curious students. Johnson is the adviser for PSU Bocce, a new campus club that participated in the Student Activities Fair in the Overman Student Center.
"Students who get involved on campus are typically happier and more successful academically," Johnson said. "Joining a club is a great way to make new friends and often it is a great avenue in which to develop social and leadership skills."
Johnson said that is was his son, Jeremy, who initially got him interested in bocce and he has continued to play with his other sons.
"Because of the heritage here," Johnson said as he prepared to roll another ball, "many people think that bocce was invented by the Italians. Actually it goes back to the ancient Egyptians."
Amber Beasley, president of PSU Bocce Ball, said it was her family's Italian history that got her interested in the sport.
"I'm local," Beasley said. "My grandparents were miners and they played bocce and I participated in the Little Balkans bocce tournament."
Beasley said her group, which formed in the spring, is small, but hopes to grow. At the PSU Bocce table, a number of students added their names to an e-mail list - potential enthusiasts of an ancient sport with local ties.