In addition to the popular “We are... Penn State” slogan, it’s time to add another slogan into the mix, encouraging Penn Staters and Penn State empathizers everywhere to individually make their personal, positive views of Penn State more visible and more vocal to a wider audience. The additional slogan idea is simply: “I am... Penn State.” It’s no longer enough to say “We are ... Penn State.”
We need to stand up individually for the high values that we represent. “I am... Penn State” is a way of saying, “Hey, if you have an issue or an opinion about Penn State, then take it up with me because I am Penn State and you’d better not be criticizing me about my values and my actions.” I’m OK with “We are still... Penn State” — but to me it sounds a little defensive. The word “still” is a reference that something happened and reminds people about it. Don’t be defensive about being Penn State. By saying “I am... Penn State” you’re taking the focus off Jerry Sandusky and putting it on the person wearing the shirt. Perhaps $1 from every shirt sale goes toward a fund for educating people about child abuse. What if this were to spread off-campus to alumni and friends of Penn State around the globe?
What if this were to spread further to students on other campuses who empathize strongly with their peer students at Penn State.
Imagine if students at other campuses, starting with our Big Ten compatriots, started wearing such shirts to their own football games and all of this got onto TV?
Imagine the power of social networks as other students also start standing up for their Penn State student peers?
If something like this were to catch on, the focus would ultimately shift to the individuals involved in the Sandusky sex abuse case, while restoring the perception of the strong values that Penn State and friends of Penn State represent.
Class of 1974