All week, members of Penn State’s ROTC program have been guarding the Lion Shrine, but tonight it is the students’ turn to protect the mascot they love so much.
Following the pep rally, students are encouraged to gather around the shrine between 10 p.m. and midnight for the annual Guard the Lion Shrine event sponsored by the Penn State Lion Ambassadors.
“Now more than ever, as a student body it is so powerful that we show the world that whatever happens, we are still Penn State,” said Logan Cawley (senior-biology). “It means more now and is going to be so much more energetic and passionate compared to previous years.”
Cawley, president of Lion Ambassadors, has been attending the event since his freshman year, he said.
“It has always been a tradition for me and is one of the most impacting events that I have taken part in,” he said.
Lion Ambassadors Executive Vice President Lauren DiBarba said that the group has been planning the event since summer. The group organized who would be in charge of each project back in May and continued working throughout the summer, DiBarba said.
DiBarba said she thinks the tradition is important because it is very unique to Penn State.
“What other schools guard their shrine? What other school has a Lion Shrine at all for that matter? A shrine that students want to take a picture with their freshman year and senior year. You don’t have that at any other school,” DiBarba said.
DiBarba (senior-kinesiology) said there will be “a ton of food,” and students will have a chance to win prizes by playing games like corn hole and ladder golf. Student organizations will also be coming out to perform and Sue Paterno is scheduled to speak around 10:15 p.m.
Hearing Sue Paterno speak at his first guard the Lion Shrine experience is one memory that Cawley said he will take with him forever.
“It had such an impact on me to hear her stories. As a student you always hear about her, and to actually see her and hear her stories was so awesome,” he said.
Guard the Lion Shrine Committee Director Sean Znachko said the event is important so students can really show their support.
“This event is important this year because it allows us to show our support for Coach Bill O’Brien, our team and our school after we’ve gone through so much over the past year,” Znachko (senior-crime, law and justice) wrote in an email.