Onward Debates: Bring Back the Senior Section

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As Penn Staters, there are many rites of passage we experience as we move inevitably down the path to graduation. First fraternity party. First Canyon Pizza. First football game. Last fraternity party (for some, this may be the same as their first). First Peachy Paterno. State Patty’s Day. Hanging out on the porch at Cafe 210 West.

There are many more, but you get the idea. These are things that everyone does. Until this year, one of those rites of passage was standing in the senior section at Beaver Stadium on Football Saturdays.

For those that weren’t at the game against Indiana State, the student section, which used to stretch from behind the south endzone to section ED at about the 40 yard line, now wraps around the south endzone from WA to EA. In addition to a new student section, there are new seating guidelines. Rather than seating by class, all seating in the student section is open.

At first glance, this seems like an excellent idea. Letting students sit where ever they want rewards students that come to the game early. Seniors and juniors who are busy drinking outside can’t get better seats than those students that got in to the Beav’ an hour before kickoff. It allows for students to enter the stadium more efficiently because they can go in to any of the ticket lines.

Those things are all well and good. Efficiency and fairness are definitely important qualities. However, getting back to the Penn State rites of passage, it is undeniable that there is something poetic about slowly moving from the freshman section to the senior section.

It takes about three years to do. Three years in which you make friends, take classes, learn things, and have a good time. These years are supposed to be the best in our lives and I can say that, so far, they have been. Getting to watch the team from the 40 yard line with my bros would have made my fall semester far better, but I’ll have to wait until I can afford those tickets in a few decades for that to happen. Oh well.

A conclusion that would satisfice then would be to set up a designated section for seniors. We’re not getting ED back, but WA or EA would be okay.

Getting away from the Manifest Destiny of the situation, having a designated senior section would have at least two practical benefits. If you can think of additional ones, put them in the comments.

  • There would be a section of students that are actually aware of Penn State football traditions, know the words to songs, etc. Saturday’s game was one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever seen because the freshies mixed in with everyone else had no idea what was going on.
  • The Wave would have a home. On Saturday, the Wave by Omar Ashour™  started somewhere in Section SC. Traditionally, the Wave started in ED, its success catalyzed by seniors who actually knew what they were doing. Saturday’s waves weren’t as great as they could have been because they started in one of the most awkward parts of the stadium.
Okay, back to the sentimental stuff.

What could possibly be more romantic then spending your last football season reveling with the same group that you spent your first season with? Hypothetical scenario: You’re in the senior section. You are standing with some of your friends. You have to go get some water. You walk up the steps in either EA or WA (let’s be honest, we’re not sitting behind the endzone, S-Zone or not). On the way, you run in to your freshman year roommate (Shout out Robert Kieffer!). You catch up because it’s been so long and you make plans to meet for lunch in the near-future. Are you telling me that something like that could happen if I’m sitting in SK and he’s all the way over in EA? Absolutely not. The senior section is all about that sentimentality, about revisiting your past three years and rekindling relationships that may have fallen by the wayside.

I shouldn’t have to block seats with 10,000 of my closest friends.  Let’s bring back the senior section. Together as freshman, together as seniors. For the Glory. Let’s Go State!

To find out the reasons why this change is actually beneficial, check out the other side of this Onward Debates.

Photo By: Dave Cole
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Eli is a junior majoring in International Politics. He enjoys paninis and books.

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