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IFC Bans Parties During State Patty’s Day Weekend

The Interfraternity Council voted once again to ban social functions during State Patty’s Day weekend, which will be held March 1. The student-created drinking holiday was born in 2007 when St. Patrick’s Day fell during spring break and has occurred annually since.

Once State Patty’s Day became an excuse for students to excessively drink, the university and borough of State College fiercely condemned the event and sought to deter students from inviting all of their out-of-town friends to be destructive for the weekend. The borough and university worked with student organizations such as the IFC to weaken State Patty’s Day.

This is not the first time the IFC has taken a hard stance against the student-created holiday. For the past two years, the IFC has voted to restrict partying over State Patty’s Day weekend.

“The Interfraternity Council presidents realized the black eye that this day causes for the community and wanted to continue to be leaders in helping to end the excessive damage and drinking that happens,” said outgoing IFC President Chip Ray.

This party ban means all Greek organizations will not be allowed to host events involving alcohol from noon Friday, Feb. 28, to 2 a.m. Sunday, March 2.

“The IFC has worked closely with the university, the State College Borough, and the State College Police in the past several years and hopes to continue the collaborative efforts,” Ray said. “We hope that other students will choose not to participate in alcohol-related events on this day and join us in our efforts to end this destructive event.”

In addition to the IFC, the Campus-Community Partnership on Dangerous Drinking took steps last spring to curb crime on State Patty’s Day. Each bar, tavern, and restaurant received $5,000 last year to not serve alcohol on State Patty’s Day. That money came from downtown parking revenue earned on past State Patty’s Days, which saw a surge of cars in downtown garages. Last year’s event also featured threatening police tacticsclosed liquor stores, and numerous apartment complexes banning parties.

These joint efforts between the borough, university, and student organizations proved to be successful in the spring. Crime numbers reported in 2013 indicated a substantial downtrend in illegal activity. Police received 327 calls — down from 412 in 2012 and 460 in 2011. Arrests from the State College Police Department also declined significantly, with the number at 138 — down from 225 in 2012 and 234 in 2011.

The Tavern Association’s plans for State Patty’s Day are not known at this time. Members of the Student Alcohol Advisory Committee have met twice this year with the Tavern Association of State College to discuss ways that downtown restaurants, bars, and taverns can help ensure student safety.

“The downside of State Patty’s Day so overwhelms any perceived up side that we hope to bring the event to an end next year,” said Damon Sims, Penn State’s vice president for student affairs and co-chairman of the Task Force. “Ideally, the town and the university would like to replace this destructive drinking event with a festival everyone could enjoy and which would not pose the same risks created by State Patty’s Day. Our students clearly are leading that cause.”

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About the Author

Jessica Tully

Jessica Tully is a first-year law student at Penn State's Dickinson School of Law. She graduated in May 2014 with degrees in journalism and political science.

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