Really, REALLY not a place you want to be associated with anymore.
Penn State University began its rich (and largely inebriated) life in 1855 as a school for Pennsylvania farmers, located in Centre County. When it dawned on them that hanging with farmers rarely gets you laid, the faculty of the school expanded the curriculum. Over the course of the next few years, George W. Atherton, one of the most famous of the school's presidents, added engineering and liberal arts to the curriculum. For his influence, Atherton has the distinction of being the only person buried beneath a sidewalk on a college campus.
At one point, the entire school consisted of what is now the administration building, a limestone ditty known as Old Main. Students slept, ate, bathed, knocked boots, and were taught all in the same building.
"Pass the rot-gut, Shemp, this is gonna be a fucking rager"
The once small-town of State College, where the flagship campus is located, has grown into a successful city and (surprisingly) safe place to live because of it. The school has become a powerhouse, and not just because of sports and booze. It's been said that 1 in 117 people with a college degree in the US got it from Penn State. If you throw a rock anywhere inside the state itself, you're almost certain (statistically) to hit an alumni.
Class of 2004, Political Science.
Well, for starters, this guy runs the school:
Meet President Graham Spanier, playing his washboard. He also does magic tricks. Yes, it goes without saying that he's better than you.
Roughly 84,000 people attend the school's 24 campuses. About 44,000 of those are enrolled at University Park, the largest. Anyone can find a hobby, including writing for the prestigious comedy magazine, participating in club or intramural sports, joining one of the hundreds of student organizations, or stringing up a rope between trees and pretending you're in the circus. Penn State's student newspaper, The Daily Collegian has the rare distinction of being a newspaper that the student body not only reads, but gives a shit about.
Students' favorite extracurricular, binge drinking, has a certain prestige at this school. In 2009, the Princeton Review named PSU the #1 Party School in the nation. Frat boys rejoiced, sorority sluts sang with glee, the hungover moaned triumphantly, and thousands of livers cried out for sweet death. The rating is seen by many as due to, not only an increase in the student body over the last four years or so, but also to the prevalence of the student-created, day-long drinking holiday known as State Patty's Day. A poor imitation of St. Patrick's Day, for this one day the streets of State College glow green and nobody really cares if you vomit by lunchtime.
If you ever find yourself at University Park and hear an uproarious cry of "WE ARE" followed by an equally loud "PENN STATE" in reply, fear not if you are not actually 'Penn State.' This is the rally cry that unites all Nittany Lion faithful. It's also generally agreed that this quickly becomes more obnoxious than your average Jersey Shore castmember and more irritating than their worst herpes outbreaks.
Once every February, the student body quits being drunken fuckbags for 46 hours in an effort to kick pediatric cancer in the dick. The Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (usually shortened to THON, because come on) is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. Benefitting the Four Diamonds Fund of the Hershey Medical Center Children's Hospital, students from various campus organizations dance/remain standing for the aforementioned 46 hours to raise money and awareness for childhood cancer research. THON 2011 raised in excess of $9.56 million, proving that cancer can indeed suck a mighty golden cock.
And, to put matters to rest once and for all, THON's rally cry of "FTK" stands for "For the Kids," not "Fuck the Kids." Bastards.
Also, Penn State has top-rated academics. So, yeah.
Landmarks at University Park
This used to be an entire university. If somebody took a long shit, your day was shot.
The administration building on campus. Built out of limestone that was mined where the grass is now...more on that in a minute.
The HUB-Robeson Building
The student union building. Houses countless restaurants, a movie theater, cultural centers, and performance halls, along with many comfy seats that students can sleep through class in.
The HUB and Old Main have a strange commonality. Old Main is built from limestone that was quarried nearby. The limestone was carted by mules, one of which was nicknamed 'Old Coaly' and made into an unofficial mascot of the college in the old-timey days. The people loved the smelly bastard so much that they preserved his fucking bones and now display them in the HUB.
Penn State's Creamery has been the darling of students, alumni, and fat bastards for years. The Food Science program creates flavors and other food-sciency things behind the scenes, while selling ice cream in the front. Also, Ben and Jerry got their start here, to the thanks of a flabby nation.
The Lion Shrine
A staple at every Penn State campus, the Lion Shrine is a prime photo op spot for alumni, students, and drunken douchebags wishing to get a photo of themselves and a friend 'Eiffel Tower-ing' the defenseless statue.
Apart from the academics and the rampant alcholism, Penn State is famous for it's all-star football team. Headed by the winningest coach in college football history, the 123-year old program is an institution in and of itself. It has produced a great many award-winning NFL players, including Jack Ham, LaVar Arrington, Kerry Collins, Franco Harris, and
Within the Penn State community, Joe Paterno isn't simply the football coach; he's a fucking entity. Affectionately known as "JoePa," he has more wins, has coached more bowl games, and has been in the game longer than any other collegiate coach in history. He's something of a god, praised and worshipped in State College and indeed all over Pennsylvania.
Paterno earned his 400th win as a coach in a come-from-behind victory on November 6, 2010 at home against Northwestern. Penn State trailed 21-0 in the first half and would go on to score 35 unanswered points while drunken fans wondered where this team had been all season. Paterno was thereby congratulated by the Nittany Lion faithful and crowned the Highlander on the 50 yard line.
Kurgan be damned.
The Nittany Lion
The mascot, the Nittany Lion, came about largely as an embarrassment over the fact that Princeton's mascot was a tiger. Penn State's Nittany Lion was pulled out of the ass of a student at the turn of the 20th century and has stuck with the school ever since. The lion is possibly a reference to the mountain lions that lived on Mount Nittany, a big hill just outside State College. Native Americans named the mountain and thus the mascot (seriously, we owe these guys a beer or something).
These days, a cheerleader dons the coveted Lion costume at sporting events (football especially), does one-armed pushups after touchdowns, and fucking crowdsurfs.
Blue and White
The iconic colors of Penn State's various athletic teams actually came about in a fuck-up that would have landed any one of us in JoePa's dungeon under the 50 yard line of Beaver Stadium (look it up). Allegedly, the original pink and black uniforms were left out in the sun too long and the colors faded to blue and white. We can all agree this was a blessing in the end.
If the word behemoth were ever appropriate, it would be in the description of Beaver Stadium, Penn State's home field. Rising out of the farms and cowfields of outer State College, it's the second largest stadium in North America and the
third fourth largest stadium in the world, because fuck Michigan. It can seat 107,000 people, but has been known to fit 110,000. It is regarded as one of the loudest venues in all of college sports, due to the efforts of the batshit insane PSU student section. Hell, they will camp out for ideal seating a full week before the game, in any weather, in their own little shantytowns.
Nicknamed "Happy Valley," State College, PA is home to Penn State's flagship campus. Some highlights:
Known as a godsend to Penn State students, the market is located just off campus and is famous for having everything anyone could need. You can find food, clothing, Bob Marley posters, bandanas, floppy discs, shoe polish, Solo cups, duct tape, giant Sharpies and mace without leaving the back of the store.
Grace Lutheran Church
A church? Well, yeah, but there's a reason: nicknamed the "Dorito" church by locals, it looks like a damn tortilla chip. Girls sunbathe on its lawn in the summer, marking the few occasions when anyone gives much of a shit about it.
Nacho Cheese-flavored. Nice choice.
Okay, big deal. There's a McDonald's on every street corner in every bumfuck town in America and everywhere else. What makes this one so fucking special? Well, it's open 24/7...in one of the largest college towns in America. Saunter on down anytime Thursday through Saturday between one and four in the morning to lose a little bit of faith in the future. Every drunk in town converges here and rampant dumbfuckery can be found in spades.
Every summer, the second weekend in July, the streets of State College become akin to the streets of New York City. The summertime population triples for three days. It's Arts Fest time once again. During the day, vendors line the streets selling artwork and crafts, and live entertainment and food are offered, and it's generally pretty nice. When the sun goes down, the entire town goes bugfuck crazy with parties, drunken revelry, property damage, and general disregard for human life. Needless to say, it's a fun time.