Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald created the PSU 409 Campaign, in collaboration with the Penn State Alumni Association's Alumni Courtyard brick campaign, as a dedication to former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno and his legacy.
Kramer-Fitzgerald, Class of 1992, is from the Delaware chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association. He created the Facebook event page for the campaign around 8:30 Sunday morning, just before she heard the news of Paterno's death.
"My friends and I were talking about it for a while, and we didn't feel like there was enough being done to fully and properly remember Joe for all he has done," she said. "We wanted the opportunity to have people make statements for him."
The Alumni Courtyard brick campaign allows alumni and fans of Penn State to buy bricks engraved with their desired statements to be place in the Hintz Family Alumni Center walkway. For the PSU 409 Campaign, 409 bricks in honor of Paterno and his record number of victories as a coach will be placed in the walkway.
"I think that people can choose to honor him in any way that they want to. It's a really grassroots effort," Kramer-Fitzgerald said. "It isn't something that is coming from the top down, it's coming from the alumni."
Roger Williams, executive director of the Penn State Alumni Association, was just as saddened by Penn State's loss. Though he did not have much to say about the PSU 409 Campaign, Williams and the Alumni Association welcome it.
"I can't think of a more appropriate way to recognize Paterno's legacy," he said.
Alumnus Anthony Williams thinks the 409 Campaign is a great way to say goodbye to Paterno instead of the recent events that seemed to overshadow his legacy.
"He was one of the most influential men in Penn State history, not only on the football field but in the classrooms and the community as well," Anthony Williams, Class of 2010, said. "I would hope to buy one if I can. I'll do my best to buy one."
The PSU 409 Campaign isn't the only way Paterno's legacy is being remembered. Paterno's family requested in their statement Sunday that donations be made to the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania or to the Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Council Dance Marathon instead of sending flowers for him and his family.
Nicole Celani said she feels Paterno's family's request will make THON better.
"He obviously supported THON from the beginning, so the more awareness we can spread, the better it is. It just goes to show how his family supported THON and what a great cause it is," Celani (junior- biology genetics and human development) said.
Kramer-Fitzgerald echoed the same sentiment and said that helping and benefiting students was what Paterno "really wanted to do."
"There is so much more to his legacy and this is better than to have this horrible end be attached to him," Kramer-Fitzgerald said. "I'd rather him be remembered by the university for all the good things that he did."