You have to be loud. You have to be proud. And you have to be willing to sleep outside.
That’s the job of Penn State student Troy Weller, who serves as the Nittanyville president, and makes sure Penn State’s student section is awake and excited early Saturday mornings.
We caught up with Weller (senior-broadcast journalism) to see just what it takes to serve as the president of an organization that has taken some heat over the past year and what it means to represent Penn State students across the country.
Q: How did you get to be Nittanyville president?
A: Well, I camped out since my freshman year. I just always wanted to be involved. I finally got involved last year as an executive officer. Then I ran for president and became elected.
Q: What are some of your favorite parts about the group?
A: Definitely the atmosphere there in terms of energy. All the enthusiasm from campers and just going and hanging out with all those kids. They get to become your group of friends. That, and the energy level leading up to the game is something everyone should get to experience.
Q: How has it changed your college experience?
A: I have a lot less time to do stuff at the end of the week when I’m camping. It definitely wears you down a little bit, too. After a game, when you’re in the front row screaming your head off of four quarters, I normally come home and go to bed.
Q: How would you describe the feeling of being in the front row on a Saturday game?
A: It’s really hard to explain. It’s so good to be able to be there and just kind of feel like you’re helping [the team] get as big as an advantage as you possibly can. We get that place rocking. There’s a lot of regulars in those front rows, too, and a lot of kids with enthusiasm. I don’t know what it would feel like to be 40 or 50 rows up but I don’t think I’d want to find out.
Q: What has it been like transitioning from Paternoville to Nittanyville?
A: In terms of camping out, nothing changed. It didn’t change the enthusiasm. The only transition was kind of operational, the organizational stuff. We got a lot of negative backlash from alumni more than students, but we expected it to be a lot worse than it was.
Q: What game do you think is going to be the biggest this year?
A: The next one. And then the next one after that. Especially coming out 0-2, we saw a lot of people on Twitter who were real down. I look at it as come to the game early and be loud for four quarters and maybe we won’t be 0-3.
Q: Why should people come out and do it?
A: In terms of the best part, I would say you develop a lot of strong relationships with people. If you’re really passionate about Penn State football, you’re going to have a real good time. Just get behind these guys and show them you support them.