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Long Lines Becoming a Problem for THON

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past day and a half, you know that Bryce Jordan Center capacity has been an issue for THON this year. This afternoon, the BJC reached capacity and stopped letting spectators in. As the intercom bellowed, “The Bryce Jordan Center is currently closed,” a line formed at Gate A (the doors facing University Drive and Curtin Road), and within a half hour extended to Beaver Stadium, and continued beyond through the next hour.

In recent years, the BJC has reached capacity at peak hours, but spectators would file in steadily and usually get inside within an hour or two. It doesn’t look like we’re making that pace right now. The line is at a complete standstill and is only growing.

There are obvious concerns about who can and can’t get in. At this moment, there are Onward State writers being refused entry during their scheduled hours. Editor Ryan Kristobak spoke with Public Relations Overall Cat Powers, and she told him that THON was told by police not to let any more people in the BJC. The police said that there were too many people on the concourse (building up a mammoth line, allowing little room for steady flow). Powers said that today’s lines are unprecedented.

I also spoke to THON PR captain Megan Renaut about their plans going forward, and she explained some of the protocol for this kind of situation.

Firstly, THON families are already accounted for in the BJC’s capacity calculations, she said. In other words, no matter where a THON family may be — on campus, downtown, in the BJC, or wherever — they are counted as a taken spot in the BJC at all times. So THON families won’t have any problem getting in.

Another issue is committee attendance. People in THON committees have scheduled hours that they must be at the BJC. So, if the BJC reaches capacity, what happens to committees who need to get in? Well, Megan explained that the THON committees’ schedules are set up such that as committee members are scheduled to come in, others are scheduled to leave. Noting that some committee members prefer to stay and enjoy the festivities after their shift ends, I asked if they would be forced to leave. Renaut said that that was her feeling, but she couldn’t confirm that, leaving committees in somewhat of a grey area.

As for press, at the moment, they are not letting any more student press members in. And not only that — if a press member is on the floor when their floor pass expires, they will be escorted out of the BJC. Media members can’t just finish their floor shift and go back to press row, because that adds to the BJC capacity, according to THON officials.

If you’re not in a committee or press, you’ll be waiting in line indefinitely as of this time. Will people be huddled in line at the BJC entrance overnight? That is still an open question, and Renaut didn’t have a straight answer as to what would happen as daylight fades and we approach the final day of THON.

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About the Author

Zack Rutstein

Penn State 5th-year Materials Science and Engineering student, Onward State Arts Editor, Musician

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