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10 Questions With Nittanyville President Sara Butcher

Sara Butcher, a rising senior public relations major, will serve this fall as the first female president of Nittanyville since the organization began in 2005. Butcher was elected Wednesday evening in an unopposed race, and looks forward to spending her final football season camped outside of Gate A.

Onward State: How did you become involved with Nittanyville?
Sara Butcher: My friend Tom [Ventura] asked me to go to the info session with him our freshman year to gear up for the 2013 football season. We went, and I was super intrigued. I had knowledge of the org in the past, but I was so excited when I learned more about it at the meeting. We camped out for the first game of the season and I became addicted from there. I honestly had no desire to be anywhere else but Gate A from Wednesday night on during the weeks leading up to home games. And because of that, I have only missed one campout ever out of the 21 campouts in my three football seasons in college.

OS: What are your responsibilities in this position?
SB: The NCC (Nittanyville Coordination Committee) is a collective effort; I essentially just give the final approval before we execute plans. Everyone works together to keep the organization up and running smoothly. I have a great group of execs this year and I know they will be on top of everything they are responsible for. My main role is to oversee the org, maintain contact with different Penn State Football/Athletics/University officials to plan the annual events, and incorporate new events to give campers the best experience possible. A lot of my work is behind the scenes.

OS: Why did you decide to run for president of Nittanyville?
SB: My freshman year I was just a regular camper, my sophomore year I served as an Organizational Officer for the organization, and my junior year I was the Public Relations officer. I’ve had a well-rounded experience within my first three years in the organization and I felt confident that it was my turn to share my opinions and make visions for the organization a reality during my senior year of college.

OS: What is the best Penn State football moment that you’ve witnessed?
SB: The most memorable moment was definitely Joe Paterno’s 400th win against Northwestern in 2010. I was 15 years old at the time and attended the game with my dad and I started crying at the end of the game when he was hoisted into the air in the end zone. The energy in Beaver Stadium was electrifying and that day is something I will never forget.

OS: What does it mean to you to be the first female president of Nittanyville?
SB: There are just no words to describe it — it’s definitely something that I had my sight set on since freshman year and to see it become a reality is amazing. I’m honestly surprised that I am the first one, though. There have been tons of active females in the organization, both in the past and as well as now. Some females enjoy sports just as much as males do, and I think that is frequently forgotten.

OS: How do you prepare for leading a week of festivities leading up to a home football game?
SB: Most of the preparation is done before the season even starts, such as what sports teams will be visiting each week and what events will take place. This is nice because it sets a schedule in stone early on to ensure maximum coordination. Each week the president creates a weekly rundown flyer that is posted on social media to orient campers with the schedule for the week. I also contact the other execs to see who will be bringing what supplies (canopy, white board, etc.). Lastly I just pray that it won’t rain the entire week. Last season was really bad weather wise — wet sleeping bags and air mattresses are not fun.

OS: What changes or improvements do you hope to make to Nittanyville this year?
SB: We are looking to really enhance the weeklong campout experience this season. It is unquestionably our largest and most popular campout of the season, so we are going to hype it up as much as possible. We are trying to incorporate events every night of the week in addition to the Slam Dunk Contest and Trashcan Football Tournament. You don’t want to miss this one.

OS: What are you most looking forward to about football season?
SB: The Ohio State game, by far. This is always such a highly-anticipated weekend in Happy Valley for everyone. All Penn Staters are aware of how the last Ohio State game in Beaver Stadium went, and I have no doubt that everyone will pack the stadium, ready to be louder than ever.

OS: What is your vision for the future of Nittanyville as an organization?
SB: My ultimate goal is to make Nittanyville the place everyone wants to be. We have too much going on each week for people to be elsewhere. I just want everyone who is interested in camping to actually try it out. Most people say, “oh it’s definitely something I want to do before I graduate,” and then a lot don’t end up following through. It makes sense that most students don’t come to college with a tent; but that single element is what discourages them. Most people don’t know that we actually have a tent rental program for these situations. I don’t want people to be discouraged from trying out something they are interested in when we can provide the tent for them. First-time campers will not be disappointed when they come to Gate A.

OS: If you were a dinosaur, which one would you be and why?
SB: I would definitely be a brontosaurus because I would no longer be too short to reach the top shelf of cabinets on my own — a daily struggle for me. That long neck would be real helpful. Plus they look scary but are completely harmless and peaceful.

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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