Mona Hill tries to bring community together wherever she goes, and Penn State World Campus is no exception.

The 23-year-old Hill, an energy and sustainability policy major who is stationed in Honduras with the U.S. Air Force, is the new president of the World Campus Student Government Association and the Penn State World Campus Sustainability Club. 

“I wanted to expand my outreach connection to fellow students,” she said. “I’ve always been interested in extracurriculars, even in the service.” 

Mona Hill is seen wearing a camouflage uniform and a U.S. flag in the background

Some people think online learners aren’t interested in extracurricular activities because of the competing demands of family and work, Hill said, but that hasn’t been her experience, as she has had several opportunities to get involved as a Penn State World Campus student.

“Every time there’s an opportunity presented, people jump at it,” she said. “So I think there’s a huge demand for connection — a need and a demand for it.”

Hill, who is originally from California, expects to complete her Bachelor of Science in Energy and Sustainability Policy in the spring of 2022. She wants to attend graduate school and become a commissioned officer in the Air Force.

She said she had some reservations about attending school solely online, but knew it was the only option that would work with her military career. She said she did not expect to be so involved in extracurricular activities.

“I thought I would just be attending a class online and that would be the end of my Penn State experience,” she said. “I never thought I would make the lifelong connections that I have with other students.”

As the incoming president of the World Campus Student Government Association, Hill said she hopes the group can improve communication with the student body and between students and the organizations they are involved in. She also wants to work to help create more mental health resources for online learners. 

As Sustainability Club president, Hill and the other officers organize at least four events each semester. Last year’s events included a live YouTube get-together focused on learning about sustainability through Minecraft with the Video Game Club and a trivia event with the Blue and White Society. The group also filmed a series of speakers that it expects to release in the fall.

Because many World Campus students have so many other obligations, not everyone can participate in live events, she said. “So we need to create more diverse opportunities.”

Hill said she has made both close friendships and professional networking contacts through World Campus. In addition to the Sustainability Club and Student Government Association, she is on the student engagement committee of the Student Advisory Board.

“I did not expect the amount of opportunity that World Campus offers,” she said. “I honestly don’t think I could have gotten more involved than I am now.”

Find out more information about getting involved as a Penn State World Campus student.

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.