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Freshman 101: How To Pick Your Seat In Beaver Stadium

The student section is a perfect metaphor for college social life in general. It’s really just a hodgepodge of different types of people doing different things that somehow come together to form one entity.

Some people know where they are, why they’re there, and what they’re doing. Others, not as much.

Each section has its pros and cons and its own unique gameday experience. We’ve broken down how the student section usually shakes out, so you can find a seat that’s perfect for you and what you want to get out of your day at Beaver Stadium.

For all the student section newbies, all student section tickets are general admission. Where you sit depends on when you get there and what line you enter through.

If you want to sit with your friends, you need to go through the same line as them, probably at the same time. And if you really want to make your life easier, meet up with them earlier in the day, so you don’t helplessly try to call them outside Gate A like everyone else when there’s no signal.

Full disclosure: Getting into Beaver Stadium by itself is usually hard enough, let alone picking the best seat. More often than not, you simply end up in a line without much thought of where in the stadium you’ll sit. The crowd outside of Gate A is a hectic mosh pit of drunk students stumbling over each other and trying to find their friends.

But if you’re a planner intent on sitting in a specific area or at least want to know what to expect wherever you end up cheering from, we have you covered.

Blue Band Groupies

Sections: SC, SD, SE

Greg Drane is dabbing. The instrumental version of “Hey Baby” is blaring in your ears. You feel strangely motivated to do all the moves to “Let’s Go State.”

Section SD and the surrounding areas are the most popping part of the entire stadium, especially if you’re coming to games to have fun and scream at decibel-piercing volumes instead of studying how KJ Hamler’s role in the slot impacts Penn State’s vertical passing game.

Sit here for a good time and if you really want a quintessential dance party gameday experience courtesy of Jack Frisbie and friends.

S-Zone

Sections: SE, SF (special entrance line)

Every Penn Stater ever has at least one S-Zone shirt. You’ll more than likely end up with one too during your time at Penn State, sometimes by trying and sometimes by wandering into the section.

People get pretty excited about sitting in the S-Zone, but it’s kind of overrated. 

You sit further away than people going through other turnstiles at the same time as you, have somewhat of an obstructed view, and really don’t do anything special after you get your free t-shirt.

I wouldn’t recommend passing up the opportunity to sit closer to the field for a t-shirt or the perceived clout of being one of the only people at the White Out wearing blue. If you’re going to sit in the S-Zone, just let it happen.

However, if it’s the THON game, all bets are off. Go get that golden ribbon shirt and show it off.

Get a tan

Sections: EA, SA, SB

Hey, listen — we all go to football games for different reasons.

For early September day games, like this weekend against Appalachian State and week three against Kent State, sitting in EA, SA, and SB is a great way to pull a Sheryl Crow and soak up the sun on gameday. The sun will be shining on you for most of the game as you take in the last few beautiful days of summer…if that matters to you.

Just wear sunscreen. Cool September mornings have fooled me into neglecting to wear any and ending up with a crisp sunburn more than once.

Pro tip: Make sure you also have sunglasses. As the sun sets below Beaver Stadium’s facade, it will be in your eyes for most of the game, making it hard to watch the game (or look forward for that matter).

Get some shade

Sections:  SJ, SK, WA

If the sun isn’t for you, sit on the west side of the south end zone. You’ll have your back to the sun and Beaver Stadium’s press box provides some useful shade that will keep you cool during those early September games.

Just don’t be surprised if it gets strangely cold during the fourth quarter of a 3:30 game.

Late arrivals and laid-back people socializing at a football game

Upper levels of every section

Not the most engaged fans. A lot of drunk people. More of a social setting than a football game.

Whether that’s good or bad is honestly just a matter of personal preference.

These seats begin to fill in after the team runs out right before kickoff and sometimes take until the end of the first quarter to fill up.

One perk of coming late is shorter chicken basket lines at the concession stands behind the student section’s top rows. Although no chicken basket line is truly short, these lines are a bit more manageable and move quicker. In reality though, if you’re sitting this high up, you probably missed a good portion of the first quarter, so I don’t think missing too many plays is a real concern for you.

Nittanyville diehards

Front rows of every section

You should do Nittanyville at least once during your four years. Few other Penn State experiences rival camping out all week and sitting front row for any game, especially if it’s for that game where everyone wears white.

These are some of the most passionate fans in the stadium, so expect a lot of excitement and conversations about how Trace McSorley always taking snaps from the shotgun affects his run-pass option ability. Maybe you’ll even get to hold a banner over the wall or give a high five to a player going through the tunnel.

Just be ready to be tarred and feathered if you have a freshman moment and say “We Are!” a fourth time. In other sections, you’re just lambasted. 

Wave stans

Sections: SA, SB

At any other stadium, I hate the wave, but watching a Whited-Out or Striped-Out crowd doing it is oddly satisfying, like those videos where Instagram artists blend paint and crush bowling balls with hydro-powered presses.

The wave generally begins in sections SA and SB, so sit here if your interests include yelling “Wave! Wave! Wave!”, lifting your arms up over your head repeatedly, and pissing off Noah Syndergaard (and in any other setting, me).

A humble request: Let’s make a compromise and just go through the cycle of the different kinds of waves (Yes, there’s more than one way to do it.) only once per game instead of forcing it every few series.

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About the Author

Anthony Colucci

Anthony Colucci is Onward State’s managing editor, a preferred walk-on honors student, and a senior majoring in psychology and public relations. Despite being from the make-believe land of Central Jersey, he was never a Rutgers fan. If you ever want to know how good Saquon Barkley's ball security is, ask Anthony what happened when he tried to force a fumble at the Mifflin Streak. If you want to hear the story or are bored and want to share prequel memes, follow @_anthonycolucci on Twitter or email him at [email protected] All other requests and complaints should be directed to Onward State media contact emeritus Steve Connelly.

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