February 27 is Just Another Saturday

In an effort to treat next Saturday “like any other Saturday”, State College’s tavern association has decided to maintain normal hours this Saturday and not hold any special promotions for State Patty’s Day.

This is a big change from last year, when I can remember seeing students lined up outside the Phyrst by noon. McLanahan’s has also removed State Patty’s Day merchandise from the shelves after they were asked to by borough leaders. Scott Lucchesi, owner of the Phyrst, seemed to think think this was the wrong approach to the problem.

We try to watch people and regulate, but the whole system is backwards. Kids are buying shopping carts of booze, liquor stores open on Sundays and we’re the ones being persecuted.

Considering the majority of Penn State’s undergraduate population is underage, Lucchesi has a point. Most students will be “celebrating” at fraternities (which IFC has taken measures to curb) and private residences.

The State College police seem to realize this, and unlike a normal Saturday, they will be increasing their presence downtown. Most of the police force will be on duty and there will be an increased ambulance presence as well. The community seems to be taking a pragmatic approach to the holiday, discouraging its celebration, while realizing that some students will still be behaving irresponsibly and unsafely.

State College has Penn State’s support when it comes to ending the holiday. Annemarie Mountz, Assistant Director of Public Information, said Penn State approves of the Tavern Association’s decision.

State Patty’s Day is an artificial holiday that has been nothing more than an excuse to engage in dangerous drinking. It is not a real holiday and there is no redeeming quality in the event. We are pleased with any efforts undertaken to reduce the incidence of underage and dangerous drinking, and applaud the decision made by the Tavern Association.

With the Borough, University, IFC, and UPUA seeking to end or change the tradition, it might appear that State Patty’s Day is done for. However, there is one factor that may outweigh all of these efforts: Penn State students’ love of an excuse to drink. State Patty’s Day is nothing more than a way for students to justify binge drinking. This underlying cause, Penn State’s drinking culture, is what needs to change before events such as State Patty’s Day disappear. The University has been working towards this goal for years, and change is a long way off.

What is most discouraging about this event is that last Saturday was anything but a normal Saturday at Penn State. Why do the very best and very worst aspects of the student experience at Penn State have to happen within a week of each other?

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Nick Johnson

Nick is a junior majoring in IST (the Internet) and CAS (saying things). He hopes to one day get paid to do this, but for now he is willing to do it for the fame. Besides writing for Onward State, he also puts things on the Internet here.

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