Sunday, December 5, 2010

Can We Drop the "No. 1 Party School" Shenanigans Already?!

After a weekend of canning for THON, I think I'll reflect on Penn State for just a moment.

The idea for this post came to me a while back when my boyfriend came to visit for the weekend. That particular weekend, the THON 5k was taking place. For those of you who do not know what THON is, it is a student-run philanthropy at Penn State that raises money for kids with cancer. The THON 5k takes place each year on a Sunday morning at about 11 -- but people show up anywhere from 8-10 to get ready. SO MANY PEOPLE SHOW UP. This year was my first year participating, and my boyfriend and I walked at our own slow pace, and there were TONS of people behind us. My point being is, it is not just a 5k for runners to participate in because they like to run. All different kinds of people participate because it is for a good cause.

Which brings me to my point.

At one point my boyfriend turned to me and said (this might be a good time to add that he does not go here), "Honestly, I don't believe Penn State gets enough credit. All I hear about is how much Penn State students party, and they don't care about anything, but looking around, there are thousands of people here, early on a Sunday morning, and they all look an awful lot like they care."

That meant so much to me, because he's right. And I don't think we hear that enough.

For those of you that haven't heard, we have been rated by an online-survey (open to any college student that wanted to vote that day) that we are the No. 1 party school, and frankly, I'm sick of hearing about it(it was almost 2 years ago!!). If that has not gotten us enough media attention, NPR did a lovely broadcast on Penn State that was not flattering in the least bit (in fact if you have a few hours to spend listening to it, don't!).

Yes, Penn State, along with every other school I have ever visited, and ever heard of, parties. We just have more students so it seems like we do it more -- well, we don't. It also is not uncommon for me, as well as many other students I know, to stay in and do work all weekend because it is a necessity. I am here to learn and get a degree.

Aside from all that, we do a lot of good. This past weekend thousands of students traveled hours away and gave up a weekend to stand in the cold (many, including myself, in snow) to raise money for kids with cancer. Rephrase, we spent HOURS (my grand total is 7 for this weekend) raising money for kids with cancer. Many people said to me, "What are you doing out here? Go inside!"

The point here is not for me to complain, it is to show that Penn State is about a whole lot more than just drinking. THON is not the only good cause on campus, there are plenty of others. There are other organizations, clubs, and even jobs, that students spend their time with. So don't judge us on the bad media coverage we are getting, because for every article that shows us in a bad light, I can guarantee there are 3 other articles that could show us in a good light, they just don't seem to get published.