On a chilly Friday evening, there was a palpable buzz in the air at Beaver Stadium’s Gate A, as Penn State prepared to play in front of fans for the first time in almost two years.
There’s one particular group of students that go above and beyond, and that is the student section, better known as Nittanyville.
Nittanyville is a collection of Penn State students who spend the nights before gameday camping outside of Beaver Stadium, making signs, playing cornhole and spikeball, making food and just having a good time overall.
The students who participate in Nittanyville are also the first students allowed into the stadium on gameday, which means camping out reaps the benefit of being in the first few rows of the stands.
They are a very prideful bunch, as they spent the Friday night before Penn State matchup against Ball State partaking in different chants and songs, singing the alma mater at midnight, and saying “Penn State” in response to cars driving by honking and shouting “We are.”
This group has been well-documented and is known, in particular, for winning the “Live Mas Student Section of the Year” Award in 2019.
One thing was very clear in talking to different members of Nittanyville, and that is that they all have one common goal in mind for tomorrow: beat Ball State.
With no students being allowed into Beaver Stadium last year, it’s evident that people are excited to get back to watching live games in-person and Frankie Godino (freshman-education) shared this sentiment.
“The atmosphere is something I’ve missed,” said Godino. “As soon as I was a student I knew I wanted to do Nittanyville because of the great environment and experience.”
Students who take part in Nittanyville spend the week doing different activities with different people and organizations around campus, some of which include the Blue Band and different players and coaches from the football team. They also give out free pizza outside Beaver Stadium each Thursday before every home game.
Nittanyville has big plans for next week’s Whiteout game vs. Auburn, including a talent show and a dunk contest with the basketball team.
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Matthew Solomon (senior-criminology) is the president of Nittanyville and organizes all of the events for the club. He says that the club is “functioning as normal” and has a big year planned.
“The Whiteout week is the biggest of the year, so we have a ton of events for next week for whoever wants to come out,” Solomon said. “We’ll have ESPN College Gameday come here, we got the basketball team coming out and a DJ too, and hopefully the football team will stop by.”
Everyone has different reasons to join Nittanyville, whether they have been a die-hard Penn State football fan for their entire life or wanted to branch out and try something new to garner more interest in the team.
Molly Taylor (sophomore-nursing) knew as soon as she heard about the atmosphere around Nittanyville that this was something she wanted to be a part of.
“I actually have never been to a Penn State game, so I’ve been really pumped up about it,” Taylor said. “When I heard everyone was camping out I said, ‘Of course I’m gonna do it.’ I want to be a part of the best student section.”
For some, this year will be their first with Nittanyville and it will be a brand new experience. For others, they will be getting back to doing something that they love with the club.
The latter is the case for Katherine Weller (junior-elementary education), who joined Nittanyville as a freshman in 2019 and is now back with the club after being unable to participate last year due to coronavirus.
While most Penn State students represent the school with pride, members of Nittanyville go above and beyond to do so.
It takes a special kind of commitment to spend multiple days leading into a gameday sleeping in a tent outside of Beaver Stadium just because of how much one set of students cares about their school’s football team.
“Not having football last year, it made me want to go full out and do everything I can to support the team and have the best experience,” Weller said.
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