Mark McColey has three options: eat enough ice cream to vomit, write an erotic novella in the voice of Penn State President Graham Spanier or show up to a crowded lecture hall dressed in a green bodysuit.
During online voting for the U.S. News and World Report Best Alternative Media Outlet contest, McColey -- who contributes to the Onward State blog -- promised he would do one of the three if his blog won. It did.
Onward State, a student-run blog created by Penn State student Davis Shaver, ended the contest Tuesday with 24.76 percent of the online votes, ahead of Yale's Timothy Dwight blog, with 18.94 percent of the vote.
"I was kind of wracking my brain because we were in second and slid to the bottom of the rankings," McColey (junior-public relations) said. "It was a last-minute kamikaze."
But now that the blog did win, Onward State readers are voting to choose McColey's stunt.
Shaver (freshman-history) said McColey's promise was helpful in the eventual outcome of the poll.
"His post showed that we believe in what we're doing and we're willing to risk a little bit," Shaver said.
Shaver was surprised Onward State pulled ahead of the pack.
"It's pretty incredible how far we've come in almost exactly three months," Shaver said. "The expansion of our readership and content, and the number of people involved with us has been validated by winning the contest."
Though Alison Go, who runs the blog The Paper Trail and compiled the nominees, said as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Onward State was not in the lead, it eventually pulled through to pick up the win. She said the blog put in "a lot of leg work," and despite only starting in November, showed continued enthusiasm for the contest.
"A lot of it is how hard they try, not how long they've been around," she said. "It requires effort. Onward State and Timothy Dwight were probably the most active. At the end it was those two. They really had the most energy."
Shaver said the blog did a "late-surge get-out-the-vote campaign" through the blog's Facebook page, Facebook statuses, online forums and Twitter.
Yale student Max Uhlenhuth, the self-described "go-to guy" for the Timothy Dwight blog, had expected his blog to win because it had been leading in the poll.
"It was a rough loss," he said. "But Penn State has a great blog, so no hard feelings."
Uhlenhuth said the intended audience reading each blog was most likely the reason Onward State pulled ahead.
"Penn State does have a lot of people," he said. "Timothy Dwight is based out of a single residential college. There is only so much 400 people can do."
Shaver hopes the win will help Onward State expand and win again next year.
"We have big ambitions," he said. "I think that we're just going to be more established, more of a name within the Penn State community by then. There is a strong possibility of being Alternative Media repeat champions."