Number three?!? No way; my alma mater, Penn State, will always be the number-one party school! I’m exaggerating my exasperation at the situation, of course. How does one judge a good party school, anyway? When I graduated in 2005, Penn State was not even in the top ten on the famed list.
The Princeton Review released the annual party school rankings this year, giving Penn State’s 2009 crown to the University of Georgia this year. The rankings are based on the use of alcohol and drugs, hours of study each day and the popularity of the Greek system. The next four runners up are Ohio University, Pennsylvania State University, West Virginia University and the University of Mississippi. West Virginia ousted the University of Florida from the top five this year.
The yearly ranking put on by the Princeton Review generates a lot of interest, as well as contempt. As an alum, I am proud that Penn State is a fun party school, but I am more proud that I got a great education. It is possible to get a world-class education and have fun, and this is what makes Penn State a great party school.
The atmosphere at Penn State is shaped by over a century of football tradition and an “interesting” geographical location. Being hours from any major city, students have to find ways to cut loose locally, and this is what helps shape the culture of the town. It breeds an active, fun and friendly atmosphere.
A variety of bars and restaurants line the main streets and have generous drink specials and live music. Not far from there, frat row boasts huge fraternity houses with well-funded Greek parties. It’s not hard to find a house party, and no respectable Penn State house party would ever charge for beer.
Some memories are straight out of the movies: Houses filled with sand for a beach-themed party, the endless sprawls of hundreds of thousands people tail-gating in the pastures, frat brothers daring each other to eat goldfish, scantily clad girls Jell-o wrestling… Others are more typical, but no less fond.
What truly separates Penn State from the rest is that everyone is out partying – it’s not limited to the Greeks or the jocks or the freshly cut-loose freshman. It’s everyone, and even though, at times, they may look like a bunch of hooligans, most people are quite smart – it’s hard to get into Penn State main campus, after all – and it turns out that smart people know how to party. There’s a good chance the girl doing the longest keg stand you’ve ever seen is a theoretical physicist.
Full-cup beer pong games on custom football field beer pong tables, margaritas and monkey boys that take two hands to hold, lines of college students waiting in the freezing cold for late night slices of pizza, tailgating beginning at 7 a.m. – it’s all still there. I have been back to visit, and the only thing that has changed is me. Nice work, Penn State. I wish I could keep up.
Princeton Review, http://www.princetonreview.com/college-rankings.aspx
Top American Party Schools for 2009, http://campuslife.suite101.com/article.cfm/top_american_party_schools_for_20092010