July 27th, 2012
Friday, July 27, 2012
We are ... State College.
Back when the story broke, I was furious. I was livid. I was disgusted. Now it is even worse. It is a silent fury that I must swallow and remain focused on what I THINK is the best and what too many think is the worst. My Penn State University.
Of course I am angry at the events that took place and the cover-up that was designed and articulated and put into effect at the expense of how many we will never know. The abuse that many suffered to what level they suffered makes me sick. Sick to a degree that I never want to let my children out of my sight. Does that mean I can never trust a teacher, a babysitter, a football coach? Because that is what Jerry Sandusky’s victims’ parents did. They trusted him.
I will always be a Penn State University fan, supporter, student, and alum.
I heard about PSU a lot growing up as any high school student in Pennsylvania would and does. Everyone basically applied to one of three schools in Pennsylvania; PSU, Pitt, and IUP. I only applied to PSU as a safety since I did not want to be one of those students that just went to Penn State. I wanted to branch out. I wanted to leave Pennsylvania. My boyfriend in high school was about nothing but Penn State and tried to convince me otherwise … that I would and could be a whole different person at PSU without running into high school classmates. I ended up at a school in Virginia, yet after two years transferred due to cancellations in my department. My father immediately perked up and suggested PSU.
I transferred in the summer of 2008, that’s right, the RIOT. I should say the first RIOT. I lived in Center dorms with the summer high school students, I got to know fraternity row, I biked to my classes, and took a job at a coffee shop. Did I see friends or acquaintances from high school? Yes. Was it ok? Yes.
The years following I lived on Beaver Ave., passed classes, failed classes, picked up a minor, changed my major (Russian to French), ate pizza from ACME or nachos from Grillers, wrote on the wall of the Darkhorse bathroom, preached with the Willard preacher, travelled with the band “The Collective”, spent hours in Paterno library, made life-long friends, took taxis home at ungodly hours from Sigma Pi or Alpha Tau Omega, studied in France, worked at The Big Easy, acquired a B. A. in French, a minor in Religious Studies, and a graduate certificate in K-12 French Education. Teas on Friday, JR and Sharon, Corner Room Early Bird Breakfast $1.99, Penn Towers, and parking tickets. I have many memories but also learned many lessons. I regret things. I am very happy about how some things worked out, even though they might have been difficult at first. I remember things. I forget things.
But this is not just about what PSU meant to me. It is devastating what is happening to the university that gave me so much, basically the university that gave me my life. I met my husband there. I gained my career that allows me to provide for my family. I earned respect for so much and lost respect for so much.
I want to talk about the town. I want to talk about State College, PA. The town that was there and still is there. State College thrives by its citizens before its college students. The town folk are always there. Every day since these heinous events came to be public knowledge, State College has had to endure scrutiny, reporters, news trucks, a bad reputation, constant questions, and much more.
State College is just trying to survive like every other small American town these days. Can I tell you about Bill who owns the Cheese Shoppe in Calder Alley where you simply throw your George Washington on the counter and walk out with a steaming cup of the best coffee in town. What about McClanahan’s where students can get anything they might need. Family Clothesline where you can find any and all that is the Penn State University. Long live the Café 210 West. Lets go farther out to the Barnes and Noble bookstore where students come to get away from the noise of their apartment. What about the numerous restaurants that are fueled by student employees, Houserville Elementary where education students can tweak their chosen trade, the streets that are pounded by runners. Everything is still there. Students come and go. Football teams come and go.
Please imagine what will happen to these businesses and therefore the town of State College after the NCAA’s sanctions this past week. My husband is from State College, PA. Part of him will always consider State College his hometown. His father, my father-in-law, is the State Farm Insurance agent in State College. He built his business from the bottom up. He has spent hours making his business a success. He provided for his family to have a good life. He raised thousands upon thousands of dollars for the university because he believed in it and the town as do many others. Already, he and many other small business owners are feeling the repercussions of the acts that occurred for so many years and the resulting outcomes and decisions. I hope they do not lose the town we all love as well.
State College, PA is Penn State University.
July 27th, 2012
July 27th, 2012