While the word "Allegheny" is a brand for the college, it is also the name of a county, a river, and a mountain range, and the school has tried to prevent other entities from using this word. For example, Allegheny objected in 2006 when Penn State tried to rename one of its campuses "Allegheny". Allegheny president Richard Cook said 'Allegheny' was "our brand." It sued the Philadelphia's Allegheny Health and Research Foundation in 1997 to change its name.
The college and the town cooperate in many ways. One study suggested the Allegheny College generates approximately $93 million annually into Meadville and the local economy. Since 2002, Allegheny hosts classical music festivals during the summer. In October 2006, the college attracted negative publicity after local enforcement cited over 100 people for underage drinking at a college party. In July 2007, a 1,500-pound wrecking ball demolishing part of Allegheny's Pelletier Library broke its chain, rumbled down the hill, careened "back and forth across the street," hit nine parked cars, wrecked curbs, and crashed into the trunk of an Allegheny student's car, pushing his car into two cars in front of him. Eight soccer balls in his car "likely lessened the impact of the wrecking ball," and possibly spared his life, according to a police officer on the scene. The student body voted to name the library's coffee shop "The Wrecking Ball" after the event.
The college has sponsored panels on unusual topics such as face transplants (2009). Allegheny professors have joined highly visible initiatives; for example, Allegheny professor Michael Maniates, described as the "nation's leading authority on the politics of consumption," joined the board of a project about the twenty-minute film The Story of Stuff by filmmaker Annie Leonard, and generated headlines. Dr. Maniates said "We really need to think of ways of making it possible for people to think about working less and getting by on less." At present, environmental concerns are important at Allegheny, which in 2008 worked with Siemens to devise a "total energy use reduction plan" for the college.