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Worst Penn State Things of 2013

2013 was an interesting year. As a hyper informed and far-too-cynical student deeply invested in the Penn State community, I know a thing or two about all the dumb, obnoxious, and generally awful things that happened here this year. This is the Worst Penn State Things List of 2013.

Penn State Lives Here, in This Generic Marketing Slogan
Oh, PSLH. What an absolutely horrible idea (and not to mention complete waste of money). First of all, who was it advertising to? We’re all aware we live here. My best guess is as some sort of weird school spirit type thing, like we’re all Penn State so anywhere a Penn Stater lives we live. But then why the stupid signs? Why of all the places would you pick random campus buildings? Penn State Lives Here, in Pinchot Hall, a building that it owns, on ground it owns, that was built with University money. Thanks for reminding us.

It could’ve been a really good (albeit obvious) World Campus marketing plan had it been done right, but what do I know; I’m just a guy whose tuition paid for this stupid thing. Speaking of University money, the campaign cost a cool $800,000 to date, and it’s only going up. While a relative drop in the bucket compared with the nearly $2 billion endowment and similar funds we have, burning almost a million dollars in front of our faces would’ve at least provided warmth, instead of just providing yard signs (and now banners) for people to steal. Luckily, now that the banners are down, the visible part of the campaign appears to have been short lived.

Nittany Mountain Trail Rides, the company that most everyone uses for their hayrides, decided that after 33 years, the drunken disasters that every organization so cherished would be no more. After several incidents, including a student getting lost in the woods and another being taken away on an ambulance with a body temperature equivalent to an average State College February evening, the booze-filled romps were done in. The company now hosts hayrides on a church campsite, alcohol compliance laws are enforced, and nobody will ever be able to make out in the back of a tractor and then go eat s’mores again. A true loss for the community on the whole.

State Patty’s Day Massacred
When the IFC agreed to ban parties on State Patty’s, people were pissed. This is a holiday that we invented as students in order to get rip-roaring drunk and break shit and further stereotype the good people of Ireland as uneducated liquor swilling potato farmers and dammit, you have no right to take that from us! When there were talks of the bars in State College being shut down on the date, though, it went from a sensible solution to remove liability in the case of the fraternities on a day where half of the people arrested are visitors into a full-blown war on State Patty’s by the Happy Valley community at large.

Is State Patty’s an absolute disaster filled with underage drinking, lots of sex, vandalism, and general debauchery? Yes. As such, it deserved to die a noble death. A warrior’s death. Nobody knows what’ll happen in the future for State Patty’s. You can shut down the bars and the frats but you can’t stop us from having house and apartment parties and breaking shit that we personally own, or buying a bottle of yellow tail and laying in bed watching Grey’s Anatomy and crying. That’s what makes this country great.

Bill O’Brien Bye Bye
We weren’t going to write this list without including it, and there isn’t really any avoiding it. Three hours after I wrote this post, I found out BO’B left, just in time for it to be one of the shittiest things that could’ve happened this year. More will be written about this by people better informed and more articulate than I, but if you’re spewing bile and vitriol towards the man who kept a program on life support from complete collapse, and you’re not a recruit he promised he was staying around for the career of, you’re in the wrong. The year started with plenty of rumors about the coach heading three hours east to Philly, and ended with him leaving, even after having reportedly told recruits he was staying. It was a tumultuous time leading up to his ultimate departure.

I’ll be rooting for him in Southeastern Texas, but this sucks and there’s no avoiding that. It’ll be even worse if the scuttlebutt about Greg Schiano and his staph infections and Napoleonic complex coming to Happy Valley are true. Either way, it’s been a roller coaster ride of a year for the head coach position. And no, Tom Bradley is not walking through the door, as great as that may be.

Grillers Closing
Old habits die hard. Some Saturday nights around 2 a.m. I’ll be stumbling home and think to myself “I could go for, like, three grilled cheeses right now” before remembering that ol’ reliable finally kicked the bucket. Grillers was a deep fried health code violation smothered in cheese. “It was a quintessential shithole, but it was our shithole, and for that it will be sorely missed,” wrote our own Kevin Horne six months ago, and nothing could be truer.

For all the future Penn Staters who will never experience the magic of cheese balls and how well they pair with the half-warm Natty you pocketed before you left the frat house, I weep for you. Grillers may be gone, but it is not forgotten. Sure, you could buy a griddle and some bread and cheese and butter and make your own when you get home, but I defy you to tell me it would be the same without the random DJ and conversation with the dude with the beard who worked behind the counter.

HUB Lawn Gone
If you’ve ever laid on the HUB Lawn on a warm day, headphones in, ignoring any responsibilities you may or may not have had, you know why this is sad. Fences, construction, and a temporary bookstore have turned this stretch of green into more of a potted plant than a Central Park. Sure, we live surrounded by vast stretches of nature, but sometimes when you’re walking around campus and downtown that can be easy to forget, and the lawn was a green reminder of that. Ultimate Frisbee games need new homes, sunbathers have to move to the little raised lawn below the Life Sciences Gateway, and while it may all be worth it when the new HUB becomes a most-awesome place to spend your downtime, for now it sucks. Indeed, an entire generation of Penn Staters are being deprived of the best common space on campus. At least they didn’t put a Penn State Lives Here banner on the construction crane. Oh God, they’re going to do that now aren’t they?

No student in the graduating class of 2014 will ever forget the horror of trying to schedule class for the last time and seeing the words “Environment Dump” pop up over and over and over again with no solution in sight. It may have resulted in a great night on Twitter, but the overwhelming fear that set in to place surrounding the whole idea of not graduating in time cannot truly be eased by some funny image macros.

Imagine thinking you may not get that one class you need to graduate because eLion crashed at the most critical time that you’ve ever had to use it. It’s like the football ticket site crashing when people went to buy tickets, but worse because, you know, it’s your life. At least LionPATH will be here soon, and we’ll never have to worry about this again (until the next time it happens, in which case you just change the hashtag a bit).

The Mark Emmert Women’s Volleyball Experience
Russ Rose, Micha Hancock and co. winning another title was one of the best moments of the year. However, all of the dedicated Penn Staters who had to sit through staring at Mark Emmert’s stupid smug face and terrible hairpiece for unnecessarily long periods of the broadcast, and the subsequent Twitter outrage that followed, was not. The least the man who felt it his solemn duty to declare a “culture problem” at the University could do, after watching Penn State take down Wisconsin, would be to present the damn trophy to the team. But he was gone before the cameras stopped rolling. If only we’d have gotten to see the incredibly awkward handshake between Coach Rose and President Emmert, my god, Emmert’s head may have exploded. Fuck Mark Emmert and his suspenders.

Return to Wreck
I don’t even wanna talk about this. The second-half collapse. The backcourt turnovers. The missed shot at the buzzer by Tim Frazier. All of it. A court storming of legendary proportions and a great day for all was thwarted by a 1-3-1 zone and some poor ball handling. Penn State basketball is a cruel, cruel mistress, and in its moment in the sun, one of the coolest events in the history of the team and the biggest thing we’ve done in Pat Chambers’ tenure, an 81-79 loss to Princeton was really very fitting, but devastating nonetheless. Now lets never talk about it ever again.

So here’s to 2014 being better, with as little Mark Emmert in our lives as possible. Happy New Year, everyone.

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About the Author

Noel Purcell

Noel Purcell is Onward State's Features Editor. He's a senior Supply Chain major, but is going to law school at some point in the future and masquerades as a writer for now. He continues to disappoint his ancestors by being a complete Irish stereotype. His email is [email protected] because there were no other Noels before him. His ex-wife got the good half of his bio in the divorce settlement.


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