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55 Days Of Cafe: To Drink Or Not To Drink?

Welcome back, Penn State. It’s the Monday after spring break, which means two things:

  1. There are less than two months till graduation.
  2. Today is the first day of 55 Days of Cafe.

55 Days of Cafe is now in its eighth year and has become a staple among graduating seniors, with 304 people completing the challenge last year. This Penn State tradition is a marathon event where 21+ students go to Cafe 210 West for 55 days in a row, beginning the Monday after spring break and running through the end of the semester.

The rules are pretty simple. Participants must purchase at least one item from the menu — alcoholic or non-alcoholic — every single day, sometime between 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

All of the official rules can be found here. Read them carefully so you don’t inadvertently mess up your chances of completing the challenge. Those who do last 55 days will have their names inscribed on a plaque — which will be proudly displayed in time for Arts Fest.

Just like last year, the dates have been altered to accommodate graduation weekend. The 55th day will be the Monday after graduation weekend, May 11. The Saturday and Sunday of that weekend will not count toward the 55 days. Easter Sunday is considered a free day.

We’ve given you tips for surviving the 55 days in the past. (The key to not spending a ridiculous amount of money is to go during the day, so you don’t have to pay cover fees.) However, this year, we’re giving you the pros and cons of participating in 55 Days of Cafe.

As someone who has fallen for the marketing gimmick completed the 55 Days challenge twice, I feel qualified to give you a few things to consider before you make your decision.

Pros:

  • You get your name on a plaque that’s permanently displayed at Cafe 210 West. For me, the idea of leaving Penn State was really scary, so it’s nice to know that, in this small way, your name will remain in Happy Valley for years to come (or you could just buy a brick). Eternal glory is really the point of this whole challenge.
  • There’s a private party on Day 55 with free food and drinks for those who complete the challenge.
  • This event gives you an excuse to go to a bar for 55 days in a row. Chances are, you’re a second-semester senior. There will probably never be a time in your life again that you can go to a bar 55 days in a row without your friends and family thinking you’re an alcoholic.
  • Honestly, it’s just enticing: If you get a good group together to complete the 55 days, this Penn State tradition can be really fun and a true bonding experience.

Cons:

  • You need to spend money that broke college students simply don’t have. There’s no way around this one, because the rules require participants to purchase an item every day. A waiter once told me the cheapest item on the menu is celery sticks, but who eats celery sticks 55 days in a row and really calls him or herself a champion? If you’re looking to save money, go during the day when there aren’t cover fees, because a nightly $5 cover at Cafe can quickly become the bane of your existence.
  • Going to the bar 55 days in a row becomes a hassle. It’s raining. You’re sick. You have an exam the next day. Sorry, you still have to go to Cafe.
  • The “private party” on Day 55 has progressively gotten worse and worse every year. I expected unlimited food and drinks but was instead handed a ticket for two free well drinks and two free beers while My Hero Zero blasted at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. And trying to get food while 300+ people fight over popcorn, hot dogs, and nachos is not really my cup of tea.

Seniors, whatever your decision, Cafe or no Cafe, be sure to take advantage of your last two months. Trust me, it goes quicker than you think.

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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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