Correction appended: Feb. 19, 2014.
Compensation will be offered to bars that don’t sell or serve alcohol during the 24-hour period of State Patty’s Day, Penn State spokesman Bill Zimmerman confirmed via email Tuesday.
The student-created holiday is set for March 1 this year, which is the weekend after the Penn State Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon.
Zimmerman said there will be a “four-tier compensation system” offered to individual establishments based on their occupancy levels.
“University and borough leaders have recognized that curtailing alcohol sales downtown is crucial to limiting the appeal of State Patty’s Day,” he said.
Businesses with the occupancy of 350 people or more will be offered $7,500; businesses with the occupancy from 250 to 349 people will be offered $6,000; businesses with occupancy from 100 to 249 people will be offered $5,000; and businesses with occupancy levels less than 100 people will be offered $2,500, Zimmerman said.
Business owners will soon receive a letter explaining the terms, and the university looks forward to hearing from business owners who want to “join [Penn State] in making downtown safer,” he said.
Zimmerman said this new plan takes “diverse business models” into account.
University Park Undergraduate Associate Vice President Brenden Dooley said all bars had to agree in order for them to be paid last year.
Last year, 34 establishments downtown received a monetary supplement of $5,000 each for closing or banning the sale of alcohol over the weekend.
Dooley (senior-economics and political science) said he and UPUA President Katelyn Mullen would be meeting with individual tavern owners Tuesday night and also after the State Patty’s Day Task Force meeting today.
He said he will have a better idea on the finalized plan for the weekend after the meetings.
Businesses planning to serve alcohol have “pledged” to enforce stronger restrictions, such as higher covers, to help deter excessive drinking, according to a press release issued Tuesday by Penn State News.
Since Jan.15, the task force has been meeting weekly to discuss how to better control the student-created holiday.
“The ill effects of State Patty’s Day are pervasive, and we’ve been committed to a community-wide response,” Borough Manager Tom Fountaine said in the release. “It’s not just a campus problem, it’s not just a borough problem, it’s not just a neighborhood problem. Only by working together will we bring an end to this.”
According to the release, the State College Police Department and Penn State Police will be “heavily mobilized” and will receive help from the Pennsylvania State Police, Liquor Control Enforcement and police forces from around the region.
The Interfraternity Council decided on Dec. 10 to ban all alcoholic events in “public spaces,” including fraternity basements, on both Friday and Saturday of the weekend.
Last year, the IFC banned alcoholic events only on Saturday of State Patty’s Day weekend.
As in previous years, The Council of LionHearts is holding a Day of Service but this year, they are partnering with greek-lettered organizations. The Day of Service is a community service event that offers an alternative to the holiday and is expected to see 1,000 volunteers this year.
For the last three years, The Council of LionHearts has been hosting this event, but this year, “there are bigger plans in place,” President of the Council of LionHearts Zane Douglass (senior-industrial engineering) said.
“We have recognized how detrimental the event is to the Penn State community, and it is our hope that other students follow our lead and refrain from taking part in State Patty’s Day festivities,” PHC President Meaghan DeMallie (junior-marketing) said in Tuesday’s Penn State News release. “Instead, we urge students to join us in the State Day of Service and work to better the community on March 1st.”
There will be about 1,000 student volunteers expected to help at 835 State College locations during the Day of Service, according to the release.
Many other non-alcoholic activities have been scheduled, including basketball games on March 1 and 2 and TEDxPSU, which will have 15 speakers on March 2.
Other actions taken include court officials being urged to impose maximum fines during the weekend, administrators at other universities being asked to discourage participation in the event and increased parking rates.
Many apartment owners, who met with State College Police Chief Tom King on Feb. 11, agreed to ban parties or notify tenants that they discourage parties on March 1.
A letter to urge party restrictions is being drafted to the holders of the borough’s “roughly 10,000” rental unit licenses.
Dave Joyner, director of athletics, will also encourage student-athletes to avoid the holiday and take part in the State Day of service.
Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims could not be reached for comment as of press time Tuesday.
An earlier version of the above story incorrectly identified two occupancy tiers for downtown establishments. The correct figures are 350 people or more and 250 to 349 people. The above story reflects these changes. The Daily Collegian apologizes for these errors.