July 27, 2009 came as a joyous day for Penn State students. The release of the Princeton Review indicated that Penn State University had finally taken the title of the No. 1 party school. After seven years of ranking within the top 10, most Penn State students can now proudly say, “I go to the No. 1 party school!”
This title, however, most likely led to a new tailgating policy that has become a risk for many of the student fans. Tailgating is a huge part of a typical game day in Happy Valley, and it should come as no surprise that a majority of the tailgaters are underage. When you are surrounded by over 100,000 ecstatic Penn State fans, barbecuing, and endless amounts of food and alcohol, it’s easy to fit in to the typical atmosphere of a game day—especially when a majority of the fans are intoxicated and everyone seems to be participating in tons of drinking games.
During previous years, it was never really an issue for underage tailgaters. As long as you weren’t acting like a drunken idiot and drinking from a red cup, you were safe. With the presence of so many fans and traffic outside the stadium, there is enough chaos for Penn State police to take care of than to go around questioning every person who looks underage.
This year the new tailgating policy prohibits the ability to tailgate during the games, which makes it easier for police to question tailgaters who appear to be underage drinking.
One unlucky student who was cited last weekend at a tailgate for underage drinking recalls what happened.
“I made a simple, harmless move. I accidentally knocked over a cup while I was sitting down and it gave the officer a reason to breathalyze me out of 20 other people that were there.”
Another student who was present at the same tailgate went on to state her opinion about the situation.
“I thought it was ridiculous how they targeted someone who was clearly not acting stupid or causing any trouble. The fact that the officers even came back to the tailgate and forced the kids who were actually 21 to pour out their drinks really made us realize how serious they are about enforcing this new policy during games.”
The reason for the new tailgating policy is stated on the University Police Department’s website. To break it down, they want more of the students to actually attend the games rather than using it as an excuse to binge drink all day.
Let's be honest fellow fans. Most of us are guilty of either leaving a game early or never actually going into the stadium because we would rather take advantage of the partying.
While it is understandable that underage drinking is illegal, many student fans should be more cautious when tailgating this year during the games. The message is simple. Have fun but also be responsible, and carry on the Penn State pride. Being the No. 1 party school may be something for many to brag about, but unfortunately it comes with consequences.
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