Penn State Killed Its Wildest Party Weekend By Paying Local Bars To Not Serve Alcohol
State Patty's Day - which just a few years ago was reportedly an overly drunken and destructive melee - has become just another weekend, in part due to Penn State University paying more than $200,000 to prevent local bars and beer distributors from serving alcohol.
According to PSU student newspaper The Daily Collegian, State Patty's Day was first celebrated in 2007 as a way for students to compensate for St. Patrick's Day falling over Spring Break. Although a relatively new tradition, State Patty's quickly gained momentum among students.
Here's some typical groups of student revelers:
Well state patty's ended with me in the ER ?? pic.twitter.com/PThHWU27Vd- Kelsey Yeager (@whereiskels) March 2, 2014
By 2011 - reportedly the peak year for the "holiday" -local State College police received 460 calls and made 234 arrests over the course of the weekend.
Three years later, State Patty's Day, which would have been held this past weekend, only had 20 arrests and 50 calls to emergency services, PSU blog Onward State reports. Emergency calls specifically for alcohol poisoning and intoxication dropped 47% this year to just 24 over the weekend, down even from 44 in 2013.
According to Onward State, PSU's new holiday weekend has just an ordinary college party:
This marks the third year in a row that police activity has dropped from the previous State Patty's Day. That's not to say there wasn't a lot of green downtown on Saturday, but the crime was more comparable to a typical football weekend than a day of destruction.
There's a sense of optimism among the haters of the pseudo-holiday that State Patty's Day may have come and gone at last. State Patty's has transformed from what it once was into just a regular weekend, the only exception being that most people wore green. There was a noticeable calmness downtown that did not exist during the State Patty's Days of yesteryears.
This transformation of a debauched college blowout to "just a regular weekend" came from both student-led efforts - such as shutting down fraternity parties - and a controversial move from the PSU administration to pay local businesses not to serve alcohol. 34 of 35 State College bars and liquor stores recieved thousands of dollars each from PSU to either close or not serve alcohol.
As Onward State reports, "A university paying a private, off-campus drinking establishment to close its doors to students of legal age is likely unprecedented."Here's a good visualization of just how dominant PSU's spending was:
It's unclear what the future of State Patty's Day is, but whatever form it takes next year will likely be wildly different than the raucousness that spurred the PSU administration to take these actions.