10 Happy Valley traditions you should know
UNIVERSITY PARK — In a valley as happy as this one, it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly brings about the happy smiles and the blue and white Nittany Lion pride.
Maybe it’s the talent-filled sports teams always bringing home trophies.
Maybe it’s the warm and delicious grilled stickies that never let you down when it comes to a good bite.
It could even be the support and love for the arts all over State College, with the Bryce Jordan Center, Center of Performing Arts and the State Theatre always make sure there’s entertainment to find.
Or, maybe, it’s tradition. The consistent State College staples and values provide a backbone and foundation to the valley — provide a way through which we all can bind together and celebrate what it means to be patrons of the Nittany life.
The following is a list of traditions and explanations that has made us lions roar throughout the ages:
1. The “We Are” Chant
One person shouts “We Are” and anyone around must respond, “Penn State.” This interaction goes for three chants and then ends with a “Thank you” from the initiator and “You’re Welcome” from all responding participants.
2. The Berkey Creamery Rules
Only one person ignored these rules, but that man was President Bill Clinton. So, unless your name is Bill Clinton, when you order your ice cream at the Creamery, know that you are not allowed to mix any scoops of different flavors and sprinkles are only blue and white.
3. THON Weekend
In 1973, a group of students that wanted to simply give back to their community. A dance marathon to raise money was a seed of an idea, but now it has turned into the largest student philanthropy in the world. More than 16,500 students volunteer and participate each year, with all fundraising efforts going to Four Diamonds at Penn State Children’s Hospital. THON is home to bright tutus, dancers who sign up for 46-hour shifts, the annual but ever-changing Line Dance and the Final Four — the last four hours that move everyone in the Bryce Jordan Center to tears.
4. State Patty’s Weekend
On March 2, 2007, Penn State students decided to form their own St. Patrick’s Day celebration when the national holiday fell on a day during spring break. Dressed in all green and ready to drink long into the night, students flocked and stormed the streets of downtown State College to earn their holiday madness. Ever since, students have upheld the event by choosing the weekend after THON to be their date of State Patty’s festivities. Grab a shamrock, pot of gold, or even a leprechaun if you find one and celebrate State Patty’s, a holiday that garners more spirit and tourists than Saint Patrick’s Day itself.
5. Homecoming Weekend
Live musicals, ice cream socials, a wonderfully put-together parade and concerts, Homecoming Weekend at Penn State is like nothing else. The weekend welcomes back all Happy Valley alumni, students and townies, so that everyone can rejoice in their blue and white family.
6. The Blue-White Game
Every year, the Blue-White Game provides a glimpse of the future football team. But what else does it provide? Oh, well just the usual — the exciting tailgates, a return to football game fun, food and drink vendors as well as the Paterno Family Beaver Stadium Run, a 5K that supports more than 20,000 children with disabilities.
7. Rub the snout of the bronze pigs right outside the Tavern Restaurant
The three bronze pigs outside the Tavern restaurant were built to commemorate the agricultural roots and history of State College, as well as an 1890s picture portraying a little pig searching for food on College Avenue. Ever since their debut onto the streets of downtown, tradition states that you if you rub the pigs’ snouts, good luck will come your way!
8. Walking past the Obelisk
Legend has it that if a virgin walks past the Obelisk — the sculpture between Willard and Sackett Building — the structure will crumble to the ground. The Obelisk is 33.7 feet tall and weighs 33.4 tons. Go on and prove your innocence by taking a nice walk along the Mall. That’s the way the Obelisk crumbles!
9. The Freshman 15
Arguably a very terrible tradition, the Freshman 15 has to do with first year students packing on the weight as they deal with their first stage of college. The meal points, access to five star State College restaurants and LionsCash are all precursors to a tradition that just might hold the most weight on this list.
10. The Nittany Lion One-Arm Pushups
The Nittany Lion might be the only individual to hope Penn State doesn’t have too grand of a victory. As tradition has it, the mascot must do cumulative one-arm pushups on the sidelines after every Penn State point. That’s right! Seven for the first touchdown and extra point, 14 for the second and onward. Make sure to clap him on as he sweats it out on the field.
Did we miss one of your favorite Happy Valley traditions? Let us know on social media (@happyvalleypsu).