Once again, Penn State will be turning green -- this year on Feb. 27.
With the date for the fourth annual State Patty's Day set, some community leaders are concerned about the impact the pseudo-holiday could have on students and the community.
"It's a costly, dangerous, totally-without-merit indulgence," Penn State spokeswoman Annemarie Mountz said.
She's surprised the event is continuing after last year's celebration when "negative fallout" exceeded the year's biggest football weekend.
Penn State students created State Patty's Day in 2007 in response to St. Patrick's Day occurring during spring break. Since then, many Penn Staters and locals have begun marketing the holiday, with bars opening earlier and stores stocking green and shamrock-covered clothing.
But some say that despite economic benefit, other areas of the community are being negatively affected. Mountz said the event is costly in manpower, stressing the police department and hospital staff.
State College Police Department Capt. Dana Leonard said the police department is used to handling high risk nights like Halloween, but State Patty's Day takes the risks to a whole new level because of the time frame in which students drink.
"It's doubly disturbing to see them walking around the streets at noon," Leonard said.
Injuries and arrests signify that students often exceed their limits, he said. He recalled one instance in which a student urinated on the terrace of the police station in broad daylight.
"It's very disappointing that this much effort would be put forward to establish one more day on the calendar to promote drinking," Leonard said.
The Student Programming Association, which coordinates some on-campus entertainment,
will not offer any special alternative activities on State Patty's Day for abstaining students. Director of Events Sankalp Nagpal suggested attending Late Night Penn State.
"It's always an outlet for any student who wants to have a good time," Nagpal (senior-health policy administration) said. "I don't think we would ever pay more attention to that weekend than any other weekend."
At press time, 4,269 people had joined the State Patty's Day Facebook group, some of them non-Penn State students from schools like Bloomsburg University and West Chester University.
Amber Glover (senior-secondary education) said a friend of hers from Cornell University might come to Happy Valley to join in on the celebration and take a break from her studies.
"I think it's fine as long as people are responsible," Glover said. "Everyone has to be an adult -- we're in college."