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The Ultimate Guide For Hosting Guests On A Football Weekend

Penn State football. You love it, I love it, and everyone else in your life is probably salty they don’t get to pack into one of the nation’s best student sections in college football every week for a handful of reasons. We know you’re a good great friend, and at some point will likely play the role of host for a weekend where your non-Penn State friends get to experience Happy Valley for a brief visit. This responsibility should not be taken lightly; think of yourself as a brand ambassador tasked with giving your friends the weekend of a lifetime. To ensure you’re prepared, here’s the ultimate guide to hosting friends for football games.

Tickets

If your friends are coming to see the greatest show in the country, you don’t really want to start it off by not having football tickets for them. Here are the rules you must know in order to nail this crucial step.

  • You’re only allowed one guest swipe per ID. No more, no less. One guest swipe = one guest ticket.
  • You have to go to the BJC Guest Ticket Center IN PERSON to purchase the guest ticket for your ID. If you missed out on the student ticket sale, you can purchase a student ticket for yourself online, but you cannot purchase a guest ticket for your buddies via the online ticket exchange. You must go to the BJC guest ticket center in person.
  • The guest tickets sell out fairly quickly, and there will be a long line. Guest tickets vary in price depending on which team is coming to town, and can only be purchased from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. The line can be very long and slow, so plan accordingly with your classes and the route you take to the BJC.
  • Bring friends to the BJC guest ticket purchase if you’re bringing more than one friend. Again, you can only buy ONE guest ticket per ID, so if you have more than one friend coming to visit, make sure you have either your roommates or other friends accompany you so they can load a guest ticket onto their IDs. This is the most difficult part of the entire process.

Parking

You’ve pulled off the ultimate feat and managed to get enough guest tickets for all of your visiting friends so they can experience the magic of Beaver Stadium. Think you’re done planning your weekend? Unfortunately, you’re not. Not even close, because now it’s time to park your friends.

  • Campus parking: It isn’t cheap, especially on game weekends. In fact, parking in the east or HUB parking decks can run you north of $30 for two nights on a football weekend. This option is pricy, but if you and your friends split it it’ll make life much easier, especially if you live on campus. Your dorm will be a short walk away from the parking decks or a short Blue/White Loop ride away.
  • Walmart: People don’t really ever think of this option, but if you or a friend/roommate on campus have access to a car that can drive your out of town friends back to campus or downtown, this option will prove to be extremely beneficial. Park your car at Walmart out on Atherton, make sure your friends have all of their belongings, lock the car, and leave it overnight without anyone really batting an eyelash. Double check that your car is locked and all valuables are removed, though. Better to be safe than sorry.
  • Downtown: If you live downtown, the garages — specifically on Fraser Street and Pugh Street — are another parking option for your visiting guests. Pricing information is available here, but keep in mind you’ll end up paying no matter where you choose to park.

Eating & Swag

Now you’re parked, your dorm or apartment is littered with various bags, and everyone has a growling stomach. It’s time to eat.

  • Downtown: The best options are downtown. Though the hike from East is long, it’s certainly worth giving your friends a taste of downtown State College on a football weekend. One of your best options will be The Corner Room, a place unique to Happy Valley. The food is delicious, service is great and quick, and it offers a unique taste of State College’s rich culture. Pro tip: Don’t take your friends to McDonalds, Taco Bell, BK, or even Chipotle — those are everywhere. The goal should be to create a lasting memory!
  • Shirts. While you’re downtown with your buddies re-fueling, have them pick up affordable student section white shirts from various clothing retailers downtown. They won’t break the bank and they won’t stick out like a sore thumb for their first PSU football game.
  • Campus: Even if you’ve fed your friends some local fare, they’ll probably be hungry for breakfast the next morning, and no, those Pokey Sticks you drunkenly ordered at 4 a.m. aren’t an appropriate substitute. Take them over to one of the new dining commons and treat them to a feast fit for a king. It’s nearby, quick, and filling. The commons do take cards if you’ve already exhausted a significant portion of your meal plan.
  • Tailgates: Buffalo Chicken Dip and Burgers. Can’t beat it.
  • Beaver Stadium: Chicken Baskets. Need I say More?

Going Out 

  • Booze. Even if you have your east mini fridge packed to the gills with a potluck of various light beers, they will soon be consumed by your thirsty friends. Make sure they (or you) stock up and come prepared with a bottle or two to get them through the weekend.
  • Frats. We all know your friends think a night out on frat row will be just like “Animal House” or “Project X,” but chances are it probably won’t live up to those expectations. In fact, the night might not go the way you anticipate at all, so always have a backup plan with other options, like the bars if you’re of age, apartment parties, or even the last resort of every freshman: a dorm party. Just make sure you’re quiet.
  • Transportation. There are a few apps that are essential for students to have. Download Uber for long distance trips, but if you and your squad are coming from an on-campus spot, make sure to use the CATA app and take a loop downtown. They’re free and run very late (the White Loop stops at 4 a.m. and the Blue Loop ends at 2 a.m.)

Though you thought the hardest part of the weekend was setting all of this up, it will actually be saying goodbye as your friends all head back to their respective homesteads. Even if the weekend doesn’t always go according to plan at every turn, you and your friends are primed to have an unbelievable experience in the Happiest Valley on Earth.

Let us know if you have any more tips in the comments!

About the Author

Tim Reams

is the HR Strategic Partner for Onward State, but he's still churning out the good photos and stories occasionally. He's a junior majoring in Labor Employment Relations, minoring in one too many things, and he'll probably become the next Onward State schmuck to go to law school. Tim comes from the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area (yes where the TV show the office is based off of) and was raised a die hard fan of all things Penn State. For any inquiries or spamming email [email protected], or feel free to sliiiiide into his DMs on twitter @TPReams.

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