Despite a decrease in citations this year, work still must be done to weaken State Patty’s Day, and the State Patty’s Day Task Force is planning to create a weekend festival for next State Patty’s Day weekend to do so, according to Penn State Spokesman Bill Zimmerman.
Zimmerman e-mailed that the Task Force will focus on the creation of a “celebration that showcases the best that Penn State and State College has to offer,” and the Task Force is meeting with the director of Arts Fest to plan it. The idea for the festival was presented at last week’s UPUA meeting, and UPUA Vice President Brenden Dooley said the goal is to avoid paying bars to close next year.
“The task force is looking forward to putting our energies into planning something positive,” Zimmerman wrote.
Good news followed State Patty’s Day for Penn State this year: From 2013 to 2014, arrests/citations were down 58 percent and Mount Nittany Medical Center treated 29 percent less students for alcohol-related incidents, continuing downward trends in both categories.
As such, efforts to squash the day of debauchery seem to be working. The enthusiasm surrounding the post-THON weekend from years gone by just is not there anymore, and the streets were noticeably less dense this year.
Still, some maintain the sentiment that State Patty’s Day should live on. The opponents of the drinking holiday have won some battles, but the war is not yet over.
The Task Force met every week from mid-January until the holiday, and it will meet again March 19 to “analyze statistics, listen to feedback and discuss areas for improvement in 2015,” according to Zimmerman. More details about the festival will be discussed at the meeting, according to Dooley.
The Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils also took measures to stop State Patty’s Day this year. The IFC voted to ban social functions during the weekend, as it did last year, and the Panhellenic Council approved a no-guest policy.
Panhellenic President Meaghan DeMallie e-mailed that she hopes involvement continues next year with the State Day of Service. She said she doesn’t think it will be necessary to restrict guests next year, but that decision lies with the next Panhellenic president, just as the next IFC presidents will vote on a social policy next year.
Update: Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims and State College Borough Manager Tom Fontaine confirmed that the University will not seek to pay bars to close when students inevitably begin to plan for State Patty’s Day 2015. Instead, the Task Force is looking to create “an event the community can embrace” for the weekend of February 27-28, 2015, when the “holiday” is expected to fall.
“The Task Force is very pleased with the results that we have seen over the past two years to eliminate this destructive event so that it can be replaced with a festival that will truly benefit the local economy and have broad appeal to students, visitors and residents of State College, the Centre Region and central Pennsylvania,” they said via e-mail. “The fact that 2014 represents the second consecutive year with such dramatic results simply reinforces the conclusion that there is no longer an appeal to this event. The task force is very pleased that the community has become a safer place.”