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State Patty’s Day: A View From The Moderate

I will not be partaking in State Patty’s Day festivities this weekend. This choice has been influenced by the dismantling I’ve seen done to the downtown area over the past three years. Although I won’t be covered in shamrocks or chugging green beer this weekend, I encourage those who want to. Let me explain.

In 2007, students realized that they would not be in State College for Saint Patrick’s Day because it fell during spring break that year. So freshman Joe Veltre decided to come with his own holiday. He set out to the world of Facebook and started a group which introduced State Patty’s Day to State College. It was well received by students and did not seem to be a blip on the town’s radar.

Veltre did not plan on continuing the holiday in 2008 (my freshman year) since students would be on campus on March 17th, but student support the faux holiday was high and State Patty’s became a tradition. Each year since, conduct of students has noticeably deteriorated and town and gown relations have become strained. Things have gotten so bad that Mayor Goreham is looking for State College citizens to become Hessian troops.

Right from the bat, I want to say that I am not against State Patty’s Day. I love tradition and this has certainly become one at Penn State. It has taken the place of other traditions that have come to pass, like Gentle Thursdays and the Phi Psi 500 as Jay Paterno wrote last year.

From what I’ve read about these past traditions, they were met with little resistance. Things never spun out of control and hell, the Phi Psi race ended up raising money for charity. Students did their things without any lasting repercussions and life went on after the event. Nothing ever became a year-round discussion, that’s for sure.

It is my hope that this year, we revert back to the State Patty’s Day of the past, albeit it was only five years ago. Have fun, but keep it under control. Keep the streets clean (the filth of downtown may be my biggest gripe against the holiday) and your heads in check when it comes to making questionable decisions.

I understand that people will look at arrest and ambulance numbers from the past couple years and say that it is a small minority of the Penn State population (or West Chester or Pitt or UDel population), but those numbers for one 24-hour period are nevertheless borderline ridiculous.

So, in short, wear your green, be loud and be proud, but through it all, please end up acting responsibly so we can continue what is becoming a budding and possibly, in time, great tradition.

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About the Author

Dan Vecellio

Dan is a graduate student in meteorology, hailing from Bradford, Pennsylvania. His interests include sports, Penn State and commons cheesesteaks. Feel free to contact me through my email or follow me on Twitter.

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