Happy Valley—the place Penn State Students spend their college careers. It’s where they learn the ins and outs of PSU culture. A part of this culture involves learning a nomenclature only Nittany Lions can understand over the course of spending four (sometimes five) years in the happiest valley in the world.
The HUB-Robeson center is Penn State’s student union. Home to popular restaurants like Jamba Juice, McAllister’s and Starbucks, it’s essential for grabbing something on the go. With the new renovations finally completed, there are more tables and a new staircase students can sit on to feel like they’re right out of High School Musical. Being so centrally located, it’s literally the hub of campus. Despite Penn State’s large size, you’ll commonly bump into the same people when stopping through the HUB. “The HUB is [where] you can never go without seeing 85 people you know,” said senior Maddie Jenkins.
“[THON is a] very unique bonding experience [for both] students and non-students,” senior Kristen Reynolds said. Penn State’s IFC/Panhellenic dance marathon exemplifies a large part of Penn State’s culture because it’s “for the kids.” With over 15,000 student volunteers participating in various committees, Greek and independent organizations, THON makes up a large part of student involvement. When you experience it firsthand, THON weekend is life changing.
3. Bloop and Whoop
If you lived on campus, you’ve most likely taken a CATA bus at some point. The blue loop (bloop) and the white loop (whoop) are great ways to get around campus for free. It might sound ridiculous to talk about in front of your non-PSU friends, but nothing trumps free rides for a broke college. Considering after October Happy Valley becomes a polar vortex until April, catching a ride to class is a lot warmer than walking the treacherous terrain from one side of campus to the other.
Otherwise known as Frat Formal Friday, FFF is the last Friday of the semester when most fraternities on campus have their formals on the same night. Surprisingly, finding a date isn’t a difficult task considering the staggering amount of fraternities on campus. Senior Ava Lederer explained how the tricky part is landing the perfect outfit that hasn’t already been purchased from Metro, People’s Nation, Blue Ivy or Urban Outfitters—the main downtown shopping options in State College.
You know those people in the first row of Beaver Stadium? Ever wonder how they got those great spots in the student section to watch the Nittany Lions play? Nittanyville, of course, where die-hard fans camp out in tents days before a game to secure those coveted spots. “I would just say that everyone should experience it at least once. The atmosphere at gate A during the week leading up to a home game is like no other,” senior Michelle Menko, former Webmaster of Nittanyville, said. “Students who make the gate their home become like a close-knit family.”
6. Dorito Church
To PSU students, Grace Lutheran’s triangular shape and oddly, multi-colored exterior is nothing other than a giant Dorito. “I use it as a meeting place for my friends often,” sophomore Katie Seel said. If it’s the end of the night and you’re not exactly sure where you are, it’s a great way to see that you’ve exited Fratland and are that much closer to your bed. It’s a sign that you’re also that much closer to some of the amazing late night food places State College has to offer. Dollar slice anyone?
7. 55 Days
Cafe 210 West, the prime indoor/outdoor bar, holds this event every year. It’s 55 days of students buying foods and drinks from the café every day from the middle of March until the end of the spring semester. Senior Ashley Woller explained that 55 days of Café can be challenging if you live far from west side, but she was up for the challenge. “Café is one of my favorite bars. It’s something that was always on my senior bucket list. Before I leave Penn State, it’s something to check off,” she said.
If it’s Wednesday night in downtown State College, it’s most likely Gaffeoke night. The marvelous time at the Shandygaff, or the Gaff, as students and alumni call it, where there’s no cover and ample opportunities for karaoke. “It’s pretty much the only week night where you can find a bar that’ll have a line an hour-and-a-half long and people will wait to get a liquor pitcher and get drunk with their friends so that they can shamelessly sing throwbacks to a crowd of strangers,” Lederer said. It’s a must attend night if you feel like having a great time and singing your fav 90s Backstreet Boys song. “I Want It That Way,” anyone?
9. S Zone
If it’s football season, it’s time for the S Zone. The number one student section in the nation is a title that we Penn Staters earned. At every game, the S-shaped section is nearly always filled to maximum capacity. During whiteouts, the S is prominently displayed and can be seen from every other section in the stadium. What better way to show your Penn State pride than getting into the S Zone.
10. State Patty’s
Penn Stater’s have always been innovative and quick to solve problems of epic proportions. Years ago when Saint Patrick’s Day fell over spring break, and students couldn’t celebrate properly, they made up a fake holiday dedicated to drinking. They called it State Patty’s. Behold, State College’s own version of St. Patrick’s day that falls the weekend before spring break. A day when college kids dress in green for a marathon of drinking. At some point during the day, make a stop at the Phyrst for some green beer.