Your Penn State Dictionary

If you’re a new student or just visiting Penn State for some good times in Central Pennsylvania, you will inevitably come across some words and phrases that you have never heard anywhere else.

In the past, we taught you how to speak Happy Valley.

Now, in the vein of Urban Dictionary, we added some more of the important words and phrases that appear often in the Penn State vernacular:

North, South, East, and West (and Pollock)

Most people may hear North, South, East, or West and immediately recognize ordinal directions. Here at Penn State, however, we know these directions pertain to clusters of residence halls. Are North and East equally northerly? Of course. Is Pollock randomly thrown into that mix? Yeah. But we wouldn’t have it any other way.

West Halls Stock Fall

Beaver *Enter Noun Here*

Just about everything in and around campus is named after James A. Beaver, the man who served as the President of Penn State from 1906 to 1908 after serving as the Governor of Pennsylvania from 1887 to 1891. Beaver [fill in the blank] could be used to refer to Beaver Stadium, Beaver Hall, Beaver Avenue, Beaver Canyon, and probably a lot of other things we’re forgetting. Pretty much the only thing that “Beaver” doesn’t refer to is the semiaquatic rodent. Here is a brief run down of the most important things with Beaver in their name:

  • Beaver Stadium: home to the best football team in all of the commonwealth, as well as the best chicken baskets known to man.

Beaver Stadium Fireworks Penn State Football vs Iowa 2016

  • Beaver Hall: a luxurious residence hall nestled in the midst of Pollock.
  • Beaver Avenue: Beaver Avenue is one street south of College Avenue, and is home to some horrendously ugly high-rise apartments, Panera, and some of the most well-known bars in State College. Beaver Avenue is also the best place to people-watch on the weekends. Pro-tip: Never wear your freshman convocation t-shirt on Beaver Avenue at night during your first weekend at school.
  • Beaver Canyon: Beaver Canyon is perhaps the most frequently featured place in State College on the local nighttime news. Beaver Canyon is the reason your relatives ask you if you took part in/were hurt during the post-game rallies. The stretch of Beaver Avenue known as Beaver Canyon was dubbed so because of the high-rise apartments along each side of the street.

big ten championship riot rally 2016


409 is the “69” for Penn Staters. When you see the number 409 anywhere, your immediate response should be “nice.” If you don’t understand why, I suggest checking the real Urban Dictionary. 409 refers to the number of wins accrued under Joe Paterno – 111 of which were vacated by the NCAA, only to be reinstated in dramatic fashion.



A daylong is the name for a party that spans – you guessed it – the length of a day. Here in Happy Valley, the term daylong is taken quite seriously as students arrive early in the morning and leave around nightfall, stumbling back to their humble abodes. Other schools or regions use the terms “darty,” “dayger,” or “day drink,” but daylong is clearly the superior phrase. Don’t @ me.

Arts Fest

To some, the phrase “arts fest” invokes thoughts of a chance to…well…look at some art. To many Penn Staters, “Arts Fest” is an excuse to come back to State College in the summer and squeeze three months of questionable decisions into three days.

State Patty’s Day

Back in the day, Saint Patrick’s day fell on spring break. Normal folks at other schools would probably just suck it up. Penn Staters? Penn Staters absolutely had to get hammered in green clothing at Penn State. Enter State Patty’s Day, everyone’s favorite made up holiday and an excuse no one needed to daylong* (see above).


There is no single street on which all of the school’s fraternities reside, so the general territory in which the fraternity houses are located is affectionately referred to as “fratland.” In fratland, you can hear “Who do you know here?” anywhere you turn and watch as a single male surrounds himself with dozens of females in hopes of gaining entrance into a fraternity.

Late Night

For some students, “late night” refers to the parties that fraternities hold after midnight. For other students, “late night” refers to the delicious and unhealthy foods that certain dining halls serve after 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. The term “late night” clearly indicates an interesting dichotomy of Penn State students. And for those that probably don’t experience choice one, it’s those events the HUB holds at night during the weekends.

Mifflin Streak

Why not take all your clothes off and sprint down Mifflin Road? Here’s how it all began.

Pokey Sticks

A Penn State delicacy from Gumby’s. You will likely be drunk while ordering these. At some point in your career, you’ll probably pass out before they get to your door.

Dorito Church

To some, it’s a place of worship. To Penn State underclassmen, it’s the North Star connecting fratland to campus.

Bloop and Whoop

Otherwise known as the Blue Loop and the White Loop, these are Penn State’s free buses. Do not take them from East to Forum. Do not take your tits out for the boys despite the chants. People will likely be drunk, sober, or high.


It was originally called Paternoville, and if our comments are any indication, people haven’t forgotten. Regardless of what you think it should be called, Nittanyville is where you and hundreds of your closest friends camp out outside of Beaver Stadium before Penn State football games to get front row seats. Every football fan should try it at least once.

“It’s [__ a.m./p.m.] and Michigan Still Sucks”

This is a fact of life that is appropriate to scream at any time, in any situation. It originated when Penn State upset Michigan through four overtimes. You might remember Allen Robinson’s legendary end-of-regulation catch. It feels good that no matter what happens in this turbulent life, you can probably count on Michigan still sucking —Penn State hockey is back on top of the rivalry.


It’s like karaoke…but it’s at the Gaff. It’s perfect for when you’re feeling reckless in the middle of the week, but good luck getting on stage.


THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, and THON weekend is the best party Penn State throws all year. Simply put, it’s a 46-hour no sleep, no sitting, dance marathon in the BJC to fight childhood cancer.

go go gadjet thon 2016


Often pronounced “geed,” it stands for “God Damn Independent.” A GDI is someone who isn’t in a fraternity or sorority. You will stop saying this and you will stop caring about this by junior year.


These are jackets you wear to frats and bars when you want to be warm but know you’ll likely either get drunk and forget it or someone else will get drunk and steal it. Here are some tips.

Blue and White Weekend

You might not think Penn State football playing a scrimmage against itself would cause such a shitshow, but oh boy, buckle up for Blue and White weekend. it’s the first time in a long time you get to enjoy some football tailgating and so many alumni (AKA Penn State Dads) come back to Happy Valley. Don’t bank on making it into Beaver Stadium to see the actual game, but definitely bank on doing some type of alcohol with Penn State Dads.

Humbled and Honored

This is what all of your vague acquaintances from freshman year Gen Eds put as their Facebook statuses when they become leaders of various orgs around campus. This phrase doesn’t technically make sense at all, but everyone knows exactly what’s coming after it.

The Willard Preacher

Someone screaming at you that you’re going to Hell when you’re just trying to make it through a Friday 8 a.m. is oddly endearing. It’s just something about that signature red sweatshirt. Rain or shine, the Willard Preacher will always be there for you to remind you sex is bad.



Is this a road or a hill? Either way your legs are going to put Arnold Schwarzenegger’s to shame with a semester of walking up this thing under your belt.

Going 1-0 This Week

This is James Franklin’s motto about putting last week’s game behind him (win or lose) and focusing on Penn State’s upcoming opponent, and now it’s your personal motto for when you do something regrettable over the weekend and need a clean slate.


If you consider yourself a woke Penn Stater, chances are you’ve taken Soc 119. The class encourages social media use with the hashtag #FreshEyes, and chances are even if you’ve never taken the class you’ve seen the Tweets. You can tell when students forgot to do their homework because they’ll Tweet #FreshEyes 100 times in a row.


It tastes like shards of glass and it’ll give you the worst hangover of all time, but it’s $12. You’re going to drink it, and you’re going to deal with it.

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About the Author


Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.

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