ABINGTON, Pa. — You need both hands to count the number of committees, commissions and boards on which Patrick Bampfield has served. And if you add his part-time job and his studies in corporate communication at Penn State Abington, you’ve filled out that second hand and then some.
Despite this constant flurry of activity, Bampfield seems unflappable. He can speak eloquently about any of his posts and on issues such as affordable education, mental health, and a slate of topics of concern to the 30,000-plus students at Penn State’s Commonwealth Campuses (campuses outside of University Park).
Bampfield, a senior, is the campus chair of the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments (CCSG), the body that oversees the individual student government associations (SGAs) at the Commonwealth Campuses. In this role, he is the chief communicator/liaison for student government presidents on the campuses. He is in daily communication with the SGAs and meets with the directors of Student Affairs at the campuses.
“Sometimes I participate in SGA meetings to find out what’s going on at a specific campus. Every student government is different,” said Bampfield, who has visited nearly every one of Penn State’s 20 Commonwealth Campus locations.
He is on the Student Initiated Fee board at Abington, and he sits on the commonwealth fee board, which oversees Student Initiated Fee boards at all the other campuses. The boards review and approve which activities are funded by the fee.
Last year, Bampfield served as the CCSG government affairs director, speaking with legislators in Harrisburg on behalf of students. He networked with legislative officials on goals centered around education reform, education funding, and protecting students’ rights.
“I want to get into politics because of CCSG,” he said. “One day I would like to be elected to office to serve the community in an official capacity, lobbying for issues that need the personal touch that corporate lobbyists don’t give. Lobbying against student debt or education funding in general would be good.”
Since many politicians are also lawyers, it seems fitting that Bampfield was president of Abington’s Pre-Law Society last year. But he isn’t sure if law school is in his future.
“The Pre-Law Society helped me learn more about my options, but I’m not super rushed to make any decisions. I would like to study for a master's in political science and public policy at Penn State,” he said.
Adding to his workload, he is Interning with Variety, the Children’s Charity of the Delaware Valley this semester.
"I don’t think I would be anywhere near who I am today if I didn’t come to Abington. My whole career path and personal growth is because of Abington."
— Patrick Bampfield
So what motivates Bampfield?
“I’m service-driven. For example, I was the deputy constable of elections in East Norriton Township. It was an incredible experience. It’s humbling to help deliver the votes of your neighbors,” he said. “There’s an intense feeling of pride that you get to do this. It’s pride for your country, your state, and the people you get to help.”
“I really do enjoy helping people. That’s why I do what I do,” he said. “I want everyone to feel welcomed, understood, and that they belong.”
His mentor, Assistant Professor of Corporate Communication Melvin Gupton, said Bampfield demonstrates commitment to all of his roles.
“His outside involvement in multiple clubs and his attraction to political communication set him apart as the critical thinking, globally minded citizen we are striving to educate,” Gupton said.
Bampfield’s reach extends beyond the Abington campus.
In 2019, he was appointed as one of four human relations commissioners in his home township of East Norriton, a Philadelphia suburb.
“If you believe you are discriminated against or you need to know where to go, we help you file the report. We also can intervene in some way to facilitate your issue or expedite it to the proper government agency,” he said.
At one time, Bampfield was the treasurer for the Greater Norristown Art League, which benefited from his experience as Abington SGA treasurer. He hasn’t left the art league behind, though, as he is now its board parliamentarian.
Bampfield credits his success to his “life-changing" decision to transfer to Abington and then joining the Abington SGA.
“I’m a different person now. I don’t think I would be anywhere near who I am today if I didn’t come to Abington. My whole career path and personal growth is because of Abington,” he said. “The opportunities here are fantastic. This is an amazing university to be a part of.”
About Penn State Abington
Penn State Abington provides an affordable, accessible and high-impact education resulting in the success of a diverse student body. It is committed to student success through innovative approaches to 21st century public higher education within a world-class research university. With about 3,700 students, Penn State Abington is a residential campus that offers baccalaureate degrees in 21 majors, undergraduate research, the Schreyer honors program, NCAA Division III athletics and more.