While some Penn State students are inevitably planning to spend Saturday chugging as many beers as possible, others will be channeling their energy to a much more valuable, less destructive use of their time — helping out the community as part of the Council of Lionhearts’ State Day of Service.
For several years, State Day of Service has served as a commendable alternative to the reckless behavior otherwise perpetuated on State Patty’s Day. This year, the service event is offering more than 15 service projects this year in and around downtown State College and Centre County. Service projects will include cleaning up the Arboretum and Shaver’s Creek, cleaning the streets downtown and working at the Centre Region Senior Center, located at 131 S. Fraser St.
The day of service provides an alternative option for students than the typical State Patty’s Day festivities. Many of these options are in prominent areas downtown, which will hopefully show others what they could be spending their time doing.
These volunteers should be commended for their efforts. It is one thing to just say that you are against the student-created “holiday,” but the students who take action through service this weekend send a clear message that they care about this community.
A small, misguided minority of Penn State students have claimed that State Patty’s Day is some kind of well-earned reward for the efforts the student body pours into the Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon each year, which falls one weekend before the student-created drinking holiday. But suffice it to say, it’s disgraceful to even suggest that raising $12.3 million raised for children with cancer warrants some kind of reward beyond the feeling of knowing you helped others in need.
As of right now, the destruction that results from State Patty’s Day is a stain on Penn State’s reputation — and pulling the “THON” card as justification is an invalid defense.
But in the spirit of the same kind of commitment to service that some students embrace through THON, the efforts of the Council of Lionhearts offer an encouraging path forward in combating State Patty’s Day.
What better way to change that than to turn State Patty’s Day into collective effort to help others? Penn State students are already becoming frustrated with the headaches brought on by the so-called holiday. If enough of them come together to truly opt out of the destruction this year and in future years, State Day of Service could grow into as much of a tradition as THON.
That would really be something to be proud of.