“State Patty’s Day: The Good, The Bad, and The End?”
On Saturday, March 1, State College featured its 7th annual ‘State Patty’s Day’ Celebration, a student-invented holiday dedicated to what college students do best — partying.
In 2007, the actual Irish holiday of Saint Patrick’s Day fell on a day during the University’s Spring Break, leaving no room for celebration with friends. The students of Happy Valley rallied together to make the alternate holiday, traditionally falling on the weekend after THON.
In recent years, State Patty’s Day has gained more attention than Saint Patrick’s Day itself, with students flocking from all over the commonwealth campuses, and even other universities, to University Park to engage in a full day of non-stop drinking and partying starting in the early morning hours. There are even t-shirts made every year.
State Patty’s Day has historically been known to bring large crowds of students, both of legal and illegal age to consume alcohol, and cause insane riots in the streets of downtown State College.
Expectantly, a drinking holiday such as this one does not show Penn State students at their best. In order to combat this, and in attempt to lower the crimes, hospitalizations, and absolute craziness in State College, university officials took extreme action.
Similar to last year, Penn State paid 34 out of the 35 bar establishments in State College to shut down for the entire holiday, in attempt to decrease the amount of drunken students. Reportedly, the amount spent on this could have paid for 24 semesters of tuition.
Different organizations minimized guests dorm rooms and sororities could have during the weekend to help deter students from flocking Happy Valley, and in hopes to end the damaging holiday.
So how did this year’s State Patty’s go with the bars closed? Naturally students just went the liquor stores beforehand to stock up for the drinking marathon. Police can arrest as many people as they want for underage drinking and public intoxication, but they cannot ban people of age from drinking in their apartments.
I traveled to State College for this holiday to (soberly) observe all the shenanigans, and am happy to report that there was barely any public commotion. The streets of Happy Valley were no more ‘crazy’ than that of a football weekend, and seemed relatively calm compared to past years.
But that wouldn’t make a good story. So I traveled around State College, stopping at different apartments, bus stops, restaurants and parties with obvious drunken college students to observe. Per request of the students, names have been omitted.
Girl in ‘Party Rock’ shirt with skinny jeans: “I woke up on this State Patty’s with a bowl, vodka, and the yams!”
Boy in red button-down: (Attempts to drink a whole bottle of hot sauce) “HOLY (obscenity) GIVE ME SOMETHING TO DRINK!”
Friend: (Hands him bottle of dish soap) “Here this should help!”
Boy in red button-down: (Proceeds to drink entire bottle of dish soap) “We’re geniuses.”
Girl in footie pajamas: “I was just sitting there and this random guy comes crashing through my screen door of the apartment, no one even knew him! He landed on my couch and passed out, so now I’m going to go back and kiss his face.”
Boy in football jersey riding the CATA bus blue loop: “Where are we going?”
Friend in blue stripes: “My apartment”
Football jersey: “We’ve been on this bus for an hour and a half.”
Blue Stripes: “I know, I figured eventually I’ll remember where I live.”
All of these people were observed before noon. I then took a second trip around 9 p.m. to witness stage two. Among the weirdness witnessed was a guy who hit his friend over the head with a belt and then attempted to cuddle with him on the couch right after. Outside of frat row, a girl dropped a box of wings on the sidewalk. A groups of teenage boys walking behind her proceed to eat them off the ground…like dogs.
State College Police reported that the total crime rate from previous years went down by 47-percent, total arrests were down by 61-percent, and there was one reported sexual assault offense. The medical center also treated 27 students for alcohol-related issues, nearly half of last year’s number.
Maybe the university’s attempt to shut down the student-run holiday isn’t absolutely horrible if that means people are being safer. Rumors have circulated that a task force has been created to attempt to turn this traditional weekend into a safer “Winter Arts Fest.” Although no details have yet been released, students seem skeptical.
“We raise 13.3 million dollars for childhood cancer. We can’t be perfect,” a drunken frat boy outside of Canyon Pizza said.
We can’t be perfect, but apparently we sure as heck know how to be drunk.
Lion’s Eye Staff Writer, email@example.com