By Rebekkah Coakley, Penn State
UNIVERSITY PARK – Penn State students are leading efforts to minimize the impact of dangerous drinking at State Patty’s Day, a potentially destructive drinking event created by students on social media. For the second year in a row, Penn State’s Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils are restricting parties over State Patty’s Day weekend. The councils, composed of fraternity and sorority life leaders, have banned parties on Friday, Feb. 22, and social functions on Saturday, Feb. 23.
“The Interfraternity Council plans to engage in various community service initiatives that day (State Patty’s Day) in lieu of drinking to further better our community here at Penn State,” the IFC said in a statement released Jan. 31, announcing its decision.
In 2012, the organizations also banned parties during State Patty’s Day weekend, an asset to the Borough of State College police department. Officers were called to fraternities only three times during that weekend, and none of those calls involved crime. Conversely, in 2011 when there was no IFC restrictions, police were called to fraternities eight times, five involving crime, and in 2010, officers were called to fraternities 12 times, 10 involving crime.
“The decision by the IFC to prohibit social functions during State Patty’s Day last year nearly eliminated police calls to fraternities and undoubtedly helped reduce crime in the neighborhoods,” said Tom King, chief of police for the borough.
“This action has allowed for more police resources to be deployed to other problem areas in the downtown and the neighborhoods. I commend the IFC leadership for voting unanimously to continue with this strategy and prohibiting social functions again this year for State Patty’s Day.”
In addition, the executive board members of both councils will be monitoring fraternity houses for enforcement of this ban, according to Rachel Franceschino, president of Panhellenic Council. She said they also will urge students in Greek-lettered organizations to participate in community service projects sponsored by the Council of Lionhearts, instead of participating in State Patty’s Day. They also will remind their members who live in on-campus residence halls that Penn State has instituted restrictions on that weekend limiting guests to one per room. Members also are being discouraged from hosting out of town guests that weekend.
“The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life is pleased that the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council recognize the liability associated with this event. The IFC took the lead last year in separating the IFC fraternity community from an event that serves no purpose for our community and they have continued to recognize that liability this year,” said Roy Baker, director of Penn State’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. “We appreciate the decision by the Panhellenic sorority community in supporting the men in their efforts to distance the fraternity and sorority community from this event.”
For more information on the Council of Lionhearts’ community service projects on Feb. 23, visit volunteer.psu.edu.