Allen Sheffield (@allen_sheffield), a junior in the College of Communications, was recently elected as the President of Nittanyville.
You may think the tents outside of Gate A just appear out of thin air, but there is actually a lot that of work that goes into Nittanyville to make sure everything runs smoothly and all traditions are continued. He meets with the rest of the NCC (Nittanyville Coordination Committee) and University/Athletic Department officials to ensure that camping out at Nittanyville is fun and safe. When Sheffield isn’t busy juggling all of his duties, he likes to kick back and watch classic Charlie Brown shows. I had the opportunity to ask Sheffield a few questions about his new gig.
Onward State: What are you looking forward to the most about being president?
Allen Sheffield: I have a great group of people that I get to work with this year. The other elected members of the NCC love Nittanyville and Penn State as much as I do. I’m really looking forward to seeing how their personal views and contributions help move this great tradition forward. And of course, I can’t wait to sleep on that comfortable concrete outside of Beaver Stadium again.
OS: I know you’ve only been president for a couple days, but is there anything on your radar that you want to change immediately?
AS: I want to get everyone in the NCC quarter zips. We discussed getting them the past two years that I have served on the committee, but it always fell through. I don’t know if you saw the Captain application video by Penn State Homecoming, but they said it the best: “Everyone knows you’re not important unless you’re wearing a quarter zip.”
OS: How many times have you camped out? What made you want to do it the first time?
AS: I’ve camped out for 15 games since freshmen year. First time was the white out game against Michigan in 2010. That campout was that year’s weeklong and some guys on my floor at the time decided that we should do it. I’ve been hooked ever since.
OS: How will the Sheffield administration differ from the Weller administration?
AS: Haha, well, I’m a product of the Weller administration. I have learned everything about being a leader and running things at Gate A from him and the other outgoing officers. I’m the only returning exec. and the only one graduating after next year, so a lot of the off season time will be dedicated to preparing the younger members of the NCC. Troy gave some intense pre-game speeches. I have to step up my game in that area.
OS: Do you have any tips for a first time Nittanyviller?
AS: Don’t let it just be your first time. The more you camp out, the more personal it becomes. By the end of each season there is a sense of family up there and that is something special. Camping out at Nittanyville is something that every Penn Stater needs to experience. There is always a group of seniors at the very last game that say, “I wish I did this more often.” Make sure you come up and talk to myself or another officer your first time; we love meeting first-time campers. We’ll help show you the ropes.
OS: What does the Nittanyville president actually do? Ostensibly, students just roll in and put up their tents, but obviously there is much more to it than that.
AS: The president’s job has a lot of behind the scenes tasks including ordering merchandise, meeting with athletic department officials, and planning events throughout the year. Even though the season is only a couple months long, the president’s job is really a year-long effort. There is much more than just sleeping in tents. Last year we had a Slam Dunk Contest along with our annual Trashcan Football Tournament. There is always a vendor dropping off food. A lot of other Penn State teams stop by and give out free stuff. There is always something spontaneous going on at Gate A. We keep it fun.
OS: Aside from Kent State, what game are you looking forward to the most this year?
AS: Definitely Michigan. It’s Homecoming week and let’s be honest here, everyone loves to hate Michigan.
OS: You knew this question was coming… How much criticism do you get for the name change, and are there any plans to change the name back to Paternoville any time soon?
AS: I’m surprised you waited til question #8 to ask this. I received a decent amount of criticism. It was rough at times. There were a lot of people that supported and understood the name change though. I’m a strong believer of the phrase “it’s not what you’re called, it’s what you answer to.” Nittanyville, Paternoville, Bill O’Brien Borough, the name doesn’t matter. The majority of the students that I’ve talked to just want to support their fellow student athletes and that is what camping out is all about. There are no plans on changing the name.
OS: For all of our female readers, is there a “First Lady” of Nittanyville out there? What’s that job like?
AS: Haha, sorry to disappoint the ladies out there, but yes there is. Her name is Steph. She’s going to kill me for telling you this but follow her on twitter: @SinezL. Her job is simple, and that is to just be herself. Nittanyville duties can be stressful at times and just being around her levels out all of the craziness. Maybe one of these days I’ll get her on a trashcan during a pre-game drum line. Until then, her hugs will suffice.
OS: If you could be a dinosaur, which would you be and why?
AS: This is for sure the easiest question you have asked me. I would be a Pteranodon. I grew up on the Land Before Time movies and Petrie was my favorite character. He could fly, he was comical, he was just an overall boss.