Mashell Baney, a residence hall utility worker, said she wouldn’t be surprised this weekend to walk into Findlay Commons and see students lying anywhere comfortable enough to sleep.
And, with the dormitory overnight guest limitation installed by the Association of Residence Hall Students — limiting one overnight guest per dorm room — Baney said she may see more sporadic “beds” in the commons this year more than ever.
Students tend to forget what kind of damage they leave behind during this student-created holiday weekend, but Baney said the cleanup isn’t that bad. Last year, she even saw less of a cleanup than previous years.
The workload is similar to that of a football weekend, Baney said.
Depending on how aggressive the competition is on the football field reflects how reckless the behavior the students tend to engage in, she said.
Penn State football weekends are very messy in the eyes of residence hall staff, Baney said, especially because East Halls is so close to Beaver Stadium.
After working for the residence hall staff for 15 years, though, Baney said she is already “geared and ready” for whatever cleanup is required following the weekend. That may mean taking an extra hour to clean up the trash, due to excessive amounts of beer cans and liquor bottles or repairing some of the ripped down bulletin boards on the residence hall floors.
Baney said she is more worried about finding a parking spot in the East Parking Deck. With the influx of students from not only the “holiday” but the several other events planned, it will be a struggle to find somewhere to park.
“All in all, because I love my job, the cleanup is not that big of a deal,” she said.
For State College resident Mike Casper, State Patty’s Day is “just plain embarrassing” for the entire community.
Casper, also the publicity and publications coordinator with the Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, said he has never been personally affected by State Patty’s Day — but he knows people who have seen the destruction of the weekend firsthand. Some of his neighbors have had damage to fences and trees in their backyards. He said individuals have also broken into homes that are in proximity to his own, and he said it’s “lucky” that his residence has not been damaged on State Patty’s Day in the past.
Last year, State Patty’s Day activity cost the State College Police Department $18,700 and the borough’s Public Works Department $15,441, according to a report from the borough provided last July.
He said he has a 5-year-old son who he does not want to see any aspect of the student-created holiday.
“I don’t want to have to say to him ‘this is what stupid college students do,’ ” Casper said.
Casper said fabricating a holiday as an excuse to party is “lame” and “does not reflect Penn State’s values.”
Casper encouraged students to think twice about the people who visit State College for the weekend.
“I enjoy living downtown, but I hope students remember that they are not the only ones who live here,” Casper said.
Bar staff members--
Michael James, general manager at Bill Pickles Tap Room, 106 S. Allen St.,said State Patty’s Day is the most high maintenance day of the year for a bar in State College.
“It’s a day unlike any other, but our operations always remain the same,” Jamessaid.
And it’s not drinking in bars that’s behind most of the issues — “pre-gaming” is the biggest cause of problems during State Patty’s Day, James said.
James added that recent issues with the level of intoxication on State Patty’s Day are because of the consumption of hard alcohol rather than beer, especially last year.
“[In the past], people would have a couple of beers,” James said. “Now they’re having a couple of shots.”
The consumption of hard alcohol during the “pre-games” of people celebrating the student-made holiday and liquor being the substance of choice is why people are more intoxicated than they might have been in the past, James said.
This Saturday, Bill Pickles Tap Room will be open with limited occupancy from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. James said there would be little hesitation in asking people to leave or withholding admittance altogether if they’ve had too much alcohol.
If people have had too much to drink coming in, the bar will deny them entry, James said.
Penn State students are always respectful — most of the issues come from out-of-towners, he said.
“Penn State students are some of the most respectful students in the country,” James said. “We do have issues with people who come from out of town, because this isn’t their regular jaunt.”
When resident assistant Kacie Lee found herself on duty during State Patty’s Day weekend last year, she was overwhelmed by what she faced.
“It was very overwhelming, many students couldn’t find their rooms,” Lee (senior-labor studies and employment relations) said, referring to students who appeared intoxicated in the dorms. “There was one student who, once he got to his door, couldn’t put the key in the lock or open it. We had to open his door for him.”
Though Lee was still training to become an RA, she and the student she was shadowing dealt with countless State Patty’s revelers, running the gamut from students stumbling down the hallways to one incident involving marijuana and the police.
Lee, who is now an RA in Simmons Hall, said she wasn’t fully prepared for the volume of incidents that State Patty’s Day caused for the residence life staff, and that she is grateful she won’t be on duty this Saturday.
“I’m definitely expecting that it will be stressful for the staff,” Lee said, adding that two RAs will be on duty at all times in the residence halls to ensure the safety of students and make sure that policy is being followed.
“As a student, I hate this day, and it’s unfortunate that so many of the incidents that occur are caused by students from other schools,” Lee said, adding that the likelihood that students and their guests will partake in State Patty’s activities forces RAs to be on high alert at all times. “We’re just going to trust the residents will be responsible and hope for the best.”