It’s been quite a chilly week here in State College, and if there’s anyone who can vouch for this it’s the campers at Paternoville.
As I made my way to Beaver Stadium earlier this afternoon, I eventually came upon the familiar site of masses of tents set up outside the student gates. There weren’t too many campers in sight, most of them either still at class or huddling inside their tents. The weather seems to be getting colder each passing day, and everyone is starting to realize that the brutal State College winter is right around the corner.
Making my way through the tents, I met a junior named Greg who was bundled up and sitting in a chair doing work on his laptop. This is Greg’s fourth or fifth time camping out at Paternoville, and I got the chance to ask him what the experience has been like for him while taking part in the week long camp-out.
“The first night, my air mattress deflated so it’s been rough sleeping on the hard ground. It’s been cold and pretty windy here all week, but overall it hasn’t been that bad,” he said.
I was curious to know what exactly the campers do to pass their time while they are together.
“Everyone has just been spending the nights in their tents because of how cold it is and trying to stay warm, but during Paternoville and the week of the Iowa game there was a lot more action going on. Everyone was out of their tents and hanging out. There were even slip-n-slides, and people set up speakers and had music playing most of the time too, so it was a lot of fun.”
Paternoville has been an ongoing tradition of Penn State students for years. The purpose of the event is to represent the body of students that camp out for football tickets at Gate A of Beaver Stadium. Most of them end up getting the front-row seats at the games.
The name did not actually come about until 2005 though, when students began to camp out six days before the very highly anticipated match-up between Penn State and Ohio State. A freshman named Dan Clark hung a banner that read “Paternoville,” and the name stuck.
In order to keep these hardcore fans still going throughout the week, they have received free food and T-shirts from local businesses that supported the event, but probably the best surprise that the campers have received was a visit from the players and Joe Paterno himself on several occasions.
I know if there is one thing I want to do before I graduate, it’s to take part of Paternoville and show the passion Penn State students have for their team. Rain or shine, snow or sleet, we will be there. We're not known as the best student section in the nation for nothing.
Only two days left until game time in Happy Valley. Hang in there, campers!