The University isn’t the only college to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
March 3, 2017
The University of Illinois isn’t the only school that goes all out for drinking holidays.
Across the country, other colleges dedicate a day to honor the drinking traditions of St. Patrick’s Day.
On the East Coast, Pennsylvania State University celebrates State Patty’s Day, which closely resembles the University.
“(State Patty’s Day was) literally just made up by Penn State students as an excuse to drink and wear green,” said Jackie Locke, sophomore at Penn State, in an email.
Just like Illinois, Penn State students wear green-themed shirts and party during a weekend before before spring break.
This year, State Patty’s Day was Saturday, Feb. 25.
“The Friday before State Patty’s Day was 75 and sunny – absolutely beautiful, so naturally us Penn State students began to drink starting Friday afternoon,” Locke said. “Then, we wake up early Saturday morning and drink all day and night.”
State Patty’s Day began in 2007, as their spring break overlapped with St. Patrick’s Day. Unofficial began for the same reason in 1996.
“Everyone always hears stories about how things have been in the past and changes that have been made to take precautions for this day,” Locke said. “Years ago, there was not much restriction for this weekend and the bars, frats, houses, apartments, literally everywhere in State College was absolutely insane.”
Just like the University, fraternities at Penn State are now prohibited from having alcohol on their property and hosting parties.
“People still always find a way to party,” Locke said. “A crazy amount of students from other universities in PA make the trip to PSU for this made up holiday, and every year the crime rates, arrest rates and amount of alcohol overdoses is extremely high compared to a typical weekend at Penn State.”
Because of the potential dangers State Patty’s Day poses, Locke notices an increase in police presence compared to an ordinary weekend.
As out-of-town people come to the University to celebrate Unofficial, people make the trip to Penn State too.
“I think it is more fun for students who don’t go to Penn State because they don’t experience the amazing and enormous atmosphere of Penn State on a daily basis, but still obviously an awesome time for anyone who is here,” Locke said. “There’s just something about drinking in a green shirt and wearing gold and green plastic necklaces and wearing other funny accessories one would not normally wear to a daylong.”
Locke attended her classes on the Friday before State Patty’s Day this year, while some chose to ditch, and she still enjoyed the holiday.
“I think it’s so funny that I go to a school that has this huge of a party for a made up holiday, all just as an excuse to excessively drink,” Locke said. “Like, the phrase ‘you’re not ready for Penn State’ is completely accurate, especially on this day, considering most of these problems are caused by students who come from other universities and don’t know how to handle their drinks like we do.”
The St. Patrick’s Day celebration also carries over to Ohio, at Miami University. Their “Green Beer Day” dates back to 1952, starting because St. Patrick’s Day and their spring break overlapped.
Every Thursday before spring break, students start their party at about midnight, and continue all day.
“I think the reason people participate is that it is a tradition here,” said Lauren Lachowski, sophomore at Miami University, in an email. “It is hyped up during second semester. So, I think people are intrigued so they go to see what the fuss is about. They see how much fun it is and hype it up for the new freshmen. The cycle repeats.”
The first round of parties start at midnight and continue until about 10 a.m. At about 1 p.m., the second round starts and goes until the late afternoon. At night, the partying commences again at 8 p.m.
“The biggest part of the celebration is from 1 a.m. to 10 a.m.,” Lachowski said. “Some students skip class, and others go to class drunk. It’s said that going to class while drunk is a thing but I didn’t see too much of that.”
Similarly, there is an increase in police presence, especially in Miami University’s uptown and bar scene.
Just like the University, Miami University has a lower entry-age for the bars, which is 18. However, Lachowski said that underage students are told to avoid uptown bars due to police crackdown.
The parties on Green Beer Day are hosted by students and fraternities. Green Beer Day 2017 is March 16.
“(Green Beer Day) was a lot of fun,” Lachowski said. “It was like one gigantic block party.”
Indiana University has their own large party, but their Little 500 is not centered on St. Patrick’s Day.
Riya Malhotra, sophomore at IU, said in an email that Little 500 is a mimic of the Indy 500. There is also a movie based on the Little 500.
Little 500, commonly known as Little Five, is a bicycle race held on the third weekend of April every year since 1951.
“I know almost all of the frats and sororities and sororities have teams, I think it’s open to anyone to make a team and compete though,” Malhotra said. “Little Five race day is a bit over-hyped, it’s the week leading up to it that’s really fun.”
There are parties and events all week leading up to Saturday’s Little Five race day. On Friday, students usually skip class. Saturday is a day-long celebration, with the race and parties.
“It’s the best college week in America,” Malhotra said.