You’ve got to hand it to Penn State, they know how to do things big. Besides famous run-ins with pedophile coaches and the biggest football punishment in NCAA history, PSU has achieved lesser known, though nearly as impressive accomplishments. Every year they put on THON, the nation’s best Dance Marathon (does yours have a documentary? I didn’t think so).
They also have the nation’s best unofficial official holiday. A week after this year’s Thon, State College Pennsylvania will celebrate the seventh State Patty’s Day. Created in 2007 after Penn State students were upset they wouldn’t be able to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day around campus because of Spring Break, the event has ballooned into a weekend-long drunken shit show of green-clad 20-somethings overtaking the whole town. This year’s event starts at the bars downtown at 8am on February 23.
It’s hard to understand how big a deal this is — the Facebook group has nearly 12,000 likes, there are t-shirts and merchandise made just for it, and they even get Bon Jovi to perform for it.
As awesome as this sounds, State Patty’s Day could be going the way of Jerry Sandusky’s coaching career. Spearheaded by the town and PSU administration, the partying is trying to be kept at a minimum. Not surprisingly, some Penn State higher-up (whom I’m sure looks and talks like Dean Wormer) has decided to go after the Greek system. They’ve complied.
From the Penn State IFC:
The presidents of the Penn State Interfraternity Council have voted to once again take a stand against State Patty’s Day. The council voted to have no social functions at all on February 23rd and to hold no parties the day prior. We are excited to work with the borough of State College and the Penn State community to further eliminate the presence of this event at our university. The Interfraternity Council plans to engage in various community service initiatives that day en lieu of drinking to further better our community here at Penn State. If you have an event on February 23rd, fighting State Patty’s Day, we would love to work with you! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you plan to do and how we can help. We look forward to working with you!
Fighting State Patty’s Day? Community Service? No socials or parties? Is this really necessary? In 2012, the first year of the ban, there were no police calls to fraternity houses. In 2011 and 2010, there were 20 calls to police combined during the two years, with 15 involving some type of crime. The townspeople are happier because this allows police to focus on the rest of the town. It needs it. There were over 400 arrests in 2011, or more than six times more arrests than at this year’s Gaspirilla, Tampa’s famous citywide pirate-themed Mardi Gras.
The bigger problem is not the Greeks but the out-of-towners. Because there isn’t much else to do in the middle of winter in central Pennsylvania, hundreds of people take advantage of this “holiday.” Not my town, not my problem, right?
Besides out-of-town randoms overflowing the area’s jails and hospitals, the Borough of State College Police Department is trying to crack down wherever it can. Though they can’t stop people from drinking, they can stop minors. First time offenders caught drinking either have to post $500 bail immediately, plead guilty, or spend the night in jail. In addition to ghost towns creeping up on fraternity row, dorms — which on State Patty’s Day apparently become party hot spots — are more closely monitored. A city and a university that’s better known now for Halloween costume fodder is trying hard to change its image.
But is the party going to stop? Probably not. Most of what goes on is in the bars and off-campus apartments in and around a part of town called “The Canyon” (which clearly knows how to party). And Penn State Greeks aren’t going to just pick up and go to the beach or commit to a day of service projects. They’ll just probably wear less lettered attire. They’ll also have plenty of longpour opportunities as they walk around carrying 24 packs on snow covered streets.
[via Gant Daily]
Image via Onward State