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Paternoville Welcomes Big Changes

Photo by Noah Simmons

It truly is what separates the men from the boys, and the awkwardly feminine from the possibly Canadian. It is Paternoville, and in the mind of this journalist it is one of the things that truly separates Penn State from the pack. This past week, I participated in the first Paternoville of the year in anticipation of the Youngstown State game. This year brings with it a renovated Gate A, and slightly new procedures for Paternoville.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Paternoville, it’s awesome. During the week before home football games (starting either on Wednesday or Monday), students begin camping out in front of Gate A at Beaver Stadium. What’s the point you may ask? Paternoville participants receive first dibs on student-section tickets. If you’ve never sat in the front row at the 40 yard line for a Penn State football game before, take my word for it; it’s a truly amazing experience.

Besides the end result of Paternoville, many participants do it solely for the experience. Being out at Gate A, you meet and socialize with students who all share one thing in common–their love for PSU football. During most Paternovilles, local celebrities will come by (JoePa, GSpan, Dean Brady, etc.) and bring free food with them. It’s an amazing and unique experience and one of the reasons why we’re the number one student section in the country.

Paternoville for the Youngstown State game was relatively unremarkable. The weather stayed clear the entire two days, with heavy winds Friday night threatening to blow over many tents (and succeeding). Because of the small turnout for the opening game, some traditions weren’t undertaken (like drumline and free food) while others were in full force (like making banners).

This year, the Paternoville Coordination Committee is implementing one major change. In previous years, for most home games tents could not go up outside of Gate A until Thursday at 12:01 A.M.  However, your place in line was determined by when you arrived on Wednesday. This meant that to ensure prime seats, groups had to arrive as early as 6 A.M. the day before. Once there, they couldn’t put up their tents, so they sat outside and braved the elements all day.

In an effort to change this, check-in is now done on Angel. At 10 p.m. on Wednesday night, a drop-box is added to the Paternoville group on Angel, and one member from each group can enter their group’s information into the drop-box. Once the information is submitted, the group’s place in line is decided. At that point they have 45 minutes to arrive at Gate A, and tents go up at midnight. As you can log into Angel from anywhere, there is no longer incentive to be at Gate A all day on Wednesday.

This system seemed to work well this week. Being that it was Youngstown State, only about 30 groups participated. However, the inherent flaw in the Angel system made itself evident. With a specified time set for registration, places in line became more of a lottery. The difference between the first few places in line and the end of the line was a matter of seconds.

While all participants still received amazing seats due to the small number of people involved, I shudder to think what will happen next year for the Alabama game. The Alabama home game could make last year’s Iowa Paternoville look like nothing (900+ participants). Clicking submit a second late could result in being 30-40 places lower in line.

This seems to remove the very concept that Paternoville is founded on, which is that your spot in line is determined by the merit of how long you’re willing to camp out. It’s just not quite the same bragging about your mouse clicking and copy and paste skills.

About the Author

Noah Simmons

Noah is an International Politics major minoring in French. Noah participates in the Mock Trial team, the Sailing Team, and is the president/founder of the Odyssey of the Mind club. Besides pushing the limit of what is journalistically acceptable, Noah enjoys long walks on the beach and football. In a previous lifetime he was William Wallace


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