Don’t Fall Out of Love
In response to Jerry Sandusky and the Concept of Justice:
First, thank you so much for your diligence and clarity throughout the Sandusky scandal and trial. To hear the student voice so clearly, and to feel confident that I was receiving facts were priorities for me.
Second, I can’t imagine being in your shoes throughout the last two weeks. Like many others, I had an insatiable need to gather the facts and to read coverage of the testimonies. I’m so relieved I didn’t have to get up and go every day. I thought about that daily. What I didn’t think about were people like you. You didn’t necessarily have to go either, but you did… and I’m grateful for your commitment. I’m sorry the experience will stick with you forever. The rest of us can remain numb about it, but you went to the front lines. As a journalist, a student, and a Penn Stater — you’ve done well by us.
Finally, your article gave me goosebumps. Please don’t fall out of love with this place. I love it with my whole heart too. I did my undergrad here, left for a year, came running back to work as a staff member for a few years, and just received my M. Ed in May. Being a Penn Stater is one of the most salient parts of my identity and it always will be. I’m proud of it, I’m protective of it, and it physically hurts me when I try to wrap my head around the things that happened here. I have chills right now thinking about the candle wax on the steps of Old Main that will remind us for years of the events we had to host there in the fall. The hair stands on the back of my neck when I drive past the Lasch Building — a place I revered for years. I have my first niece or nephew coming into the world in August — I didn’t buy my little nugget a single Penn State item… something I always thought I would do.
But that’s the point, isn’t it? Our reality has changed forever — and I didn’t even see or hear the things you saw in the court room.
Still, Penn State needs our hearts. It needs us to sing our love and loyalty…and not to totally go Alma Mater on you… but to sing of a future BRIGHT, even if we’ll never be free of these disgusting acts. The wax from the vigils will stay on the steps. The Lasch Building will be the butt of jokes at other universities and a symbol of child abuse for us. The JoePa statue will break our hearts instead of offering us a swell of pride. It hurts. It’s not what we know. But the future of our great institution needs us now more than it ever has. The Lion Shrine remains a symbol of the many things there are to be proud of here. I kissed his nose when I graduated in 2006 and would do the same today. He represents my Penn State family, my hard-earned degrees, and my unforgettable times with friends.
I’m working with the incoming students at FTCAP this year. They are just as psyched as we were when we arrived. They have aspirations and just as much enthusiasm… and think about it…they don’t even know what they have yet. It’s our job to teach them. I’m not going to let Sandusky ruin my time here or their time to come. I’m disgusted that I have to look at Spanier’s name on my undergrad degree, but it doesn’t negate everything I had/have/will have on this campus. It can’t cancel out the love I’ve been growing for a place that grew me up. We have to pass that on.
Our Penn State wardrobes need the wear proudly, even if we are hurt. When I walk around in one of a million PSU wardrobe articles in the next few years, I might hear the noise from people who don’t get it. But you know what else I’ll undoubtedly hear? The WE ARE call of other proud Penn Staters- people who share that same love, devotion, and understanding that we are so much more than Sandusky, Spanier, and the others. We are a community that will work to contribute to the victims’ healing, and to ensure that it never happens again.
Don’t fall out of love. Our Alma Mater needs you… and based on your proven commitment and loyalty over the past few months, she can’t afford to lose you as an ally.
Take good care of yourself.