From merchandise to billboards and a full-page newspaper advertisement, the Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship are campaigning to make their message loud and clear.
Since their formation in November 2011, PS4RS has been a group of alumni, students, community members and others that has often criticized the Penn State Board of Trustees.
Last week, the group revealed 10 billboards around the State College area, going out as far as 35 to 40 miles east on U.S. Route 322, PS4RS Spokeswoman Maribeth Schmidt said. The billboards were sponsored by an anonymous alumnus, she said.
One of the billboards is located near the intersection of Pugh St. and Beaver Ave., next to CVS Pharmacy.
The billboards reads: “You can’t cover up 61 years of success with honor,” with the words “cover up” in yellow and the rest in white.
Schmidt said the alumnus bought the billboards because of a lack of any mention of late football coach Joe Paterno during the first game at Beaver Stadium this year. After 61 years of service, the donor thought he should have been mentioned, she said.
This idea was brought up again within PS4RS this past weekend when the 1982 championship team was honored and Paterno was not mentioned, Schmidt said.
“There was no mention of Joe Paterno. No moment of silence. No sticker with his initials on the helmets,” she said.
In last Friday’s edition of the Centre Daily Times, the same anonymous alumnus also sponsored a full-page advertisement that introduced and included Paterno’s speech following the 1982 National Championship game.
Schmidt said the advertisement was a reaction to the NCAA’s criticism of the culture at Penn State and the fact that the Board of Trustees have “succumbed to the pressure” and decided not to fight the sanctions.
“The alumnus’s view on taking out that full page was to tell people that this is the culture that we are being criticized for,” she said.
She also said the donor otherwise would have donated those funds to the university, so paying for the advertisements shows how strongly the person felt.
PS4RS currently has no operating budget but relies on the work of the volunteer members, which increased by an estimated 1,000 people since the billboards and newspaper advertisement, she said.
PS4RS also have begun selling merchandise to promote their cause.
John Lindo, manager of the Student Book Store, said he began working with members of PS4RS about two weeks ago when members approached him about selling their merchandise in the store.
The merchandise is currently only available for pre-order online, but it would be available in the stores if there is further interest in the products, he said.
In the first few weeks of the available merchandise, Lindo said there has not been “huge orders” yet.
The pre-ordered merchandise is expected to be delivered to customers “on or around” Oct. 15. The two groups will then decide if they will continue to work together.
Lindo said SBS supports the mission of PS4RS but they are “not over the top about it.”
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