Student sections are the pulse of the in-stadium experience in college football, so there is nothing like having the home-field advantage. Undergrads supporting their classmates loud and proud on the field can turn the entire stadium into a deafening atmosphere and change a game. U.S. News ranked Penn State University amongst the 50th best colleges in the nation for their largest alumni network in the country, excelling in academics and research, and the passion and pride that goes into their student section at Beaver Stadium for every home football game. So we asked five students to share the secrets that set their student section apart from every other college in the country.
1. “We never sit down, in fact, we get thrown in the air,” Melissa Elliot, Sophomore.
The number one rule for a student at a Penn State Football game is to never sit down while the game is going on. Melissa Elliot, a sophomore at Penn State, knew this, but she was not prepared to be picked up, and thrown in the air after a touchdown! Every time Penn State scores, students will toss a girl in the air for every point that is on the score board. After every touchdown, you can look into the student section and see girls going air bone in a sea of blue and white. So if you are ever bold enough to be a part of this iconic student section, watch your back because you might be swept off your feet, literally.
2. “Rushing the field for the Ohio State Game was an out of body experience,” Emily Delor, Sophomore.
Thousands of students stormed the field on October 22nd, 2016 when Penn State beat the number 2 ranked team in the nation, the Ohio State Buckeyes. According to Penn State athletics, this was the 1st top-ten team Penn State defeated since beating Nebraska in 2002; and the student section played a major role in their victory. Every year there is a white-out game, where all the students in the section wear white. It’s simple but powerful. Imagine playing in the biggest stadium in all of college football, looking into the student section, and seeing thousands of fans decked out in white! Penn State made history that night and beat the nationally ranked team 21-24. “To be surrounded by 107,000 strangers, yet feel as if I have a personal attachment to each person; nothing will ever compare to a Penn State White Out Game,” Jamila White, Senior.
3. “The first time walking into the stadium I got chills, it was incredible,” Amanda Crocito, Sophomore.
Penn State students are wild. We will stand in the cold, rain, and hail, to be there for our team. Regardless of your religion, ethnicity, or gender, we are a family, and football games give us a chance to all come together! It’s like a holiday! Thousands of fans from across the country come to Beaver stadium for every home game, decked out in their Penn State gear. The energy is so real it is almost tangible.
4. “It takes me hours to pick out my outfit for a game,” Christina Karamanos, Sophomore.
Picking out your outfit for a game is not easy, but it is fun! Girls take the time to cut their shirts into cool designs, paint the Penn State logo on their face, and even incorporate Penn State chokers into their outfits. We go all out. When you’re walking to the stadium you will see girls in high waisted jeans and Penn State crop tops, oversized jerseys, and even customized Penn State leggings! My friends and I basically have a photo shoot before each game! I mean, we did put all that time and energy into our outfits. We might as well!
5. S Zone!
The S Zone is a section of the student section that leads the chants for every game. It's led by the Lion Ambassadors, whose mission is to instill Penn State Pride! In order to be in the S Zone, you have to get to the game a little earlier than usual, and go through the “S-Zone ticket gate.” Every student needs to experience the S-Zone at least once before graduating! You also get a free t-shirt!
The student section at Penn State does not compare to any other college. From throwing girls in the air to custom designing outfits to screaming for their team until they're hoarse, Penn Staters believe in their team when no one else does. We know that this year they'll make history again. Don’t underestimate these game changers.