Blue signs of support donned by local businesses are no longer limited to just football.
Inspired by the signs that support Penn State football, new signs that read “We support Penn State academics” were hung alongside the previous ones in shop windows in State College.
Erik Davidson, Class of 2010, said several other Penn State alumni brought the idea and design to him to create and distribute them.
He said groups of students from the Schreyer Honors College Student Council, Sigma Nu Fraternity and the College of Engineering worked to distribute the signs to the local businesses throughout town.
Davidson said alumni who helped him create the signs brought up the idea after seeing an editorial saying that Penn State claimed to be more than a football school, but only had football memorabilia downtown.
“Although we know, as the community, that football is something we rally around and that it’s a time for the Penn State family to come together, the alum who had discussed this idea with me was interested in showing the world that we’re ‘ra-ra’ about other things, too,” Davidson said.
He said they have received mostly positive feedback. However, some said they think the academic signs are trying to compete with the football signs, which he said they are not.
John Lindo, general manager of the Student Book Store, 330 E. College Ave., said he was not sure where the academic support signs came from.
He said the football signs were passed out first, and later, the academic signs were dropped off at the store.
“A lot of people want the football one because it’s all over town, but the academic one, it hasn’t been distributed to as many people,” he said. “I don’t even know who dropped it off.”
Mike Desmond, co-owner of the Hotel State College, 100 W. College Ave., said him and his colleagues came up with the idea for the football signs in early August and distributed them to local businesses. However, Desmond said he did not know where the academic support signs came from.
He said to date, they have printed and distributed 12,000 copies of the football support sign, as well as inserting 15,000 into copies of the Collegian.
“It was a week before the NCAA’s sanctions were announced and most people in town were in a funk,” Desmond said. “We were concerned about the prevailing attitude in town, not just as portrayed by the national media, and following Coach O’Brien’s lead, we thought it was time to do something and say something.”
He said they have received immense feedback, all positive, from alumni visiting town and via phone calls and emails.
“People get it,” he said. “They understand it’s not just about football. It’s about the students and the student athletes.”
Jennifer Schoch, manager at McLanahan’s, 414 E. College Ave., said they only have the signs that say, “We support Penn State football” in their windows because they never received the academic signs.
Schoch said McLanahan’shas also started making their own football support signs, printing them with a white background and blue writing and shipping them out in mail orders.