This week marks the first away game of the Penn State football season, and the members of Nittanyville can finally take a breath.
Nittanyville is an organized Penn State club that camps outside Gate A of Beaver Stadium from Wednesday night to Saturday morning leading up to a home football game.
After three straight weeks, Nittanyville vice president Cory Lestochi, a junior, is using this week to catch up on rest — and homework — before traveling to Iowa City for the 7:30 p.m. kick off Saturday.
“It is nice that I have a week off to kind of rest a little bit because it does get exhausting,” he said.
Since he’s been a student at Penn State, Lestochi hasn’t missed one night camping in the “tent city,” as the members refer to it.
In the midst of campers playing trashcan football or painting banners to hang over the ledge of the student section during the game, the football team usually pays a visit to Nittanyville. This year, quarterback Trace McSorley has joined in on some games and even delivered pizza.
Student can sign up for Nittanyville on a weekly basis in Canvas, a system Penn State uses to operate courses and assignments. One person from each group, which can range up to 10 people, signs in on Canvas the Wednesday night prior to a home game. Canvas then sorts the groups on a first-come, first-served basis to to determine priority when choosing seats.
Nittanyville runs through Penn State’s ticketing system, so campers are able to enter the stadium earlier than the rest of the crowd.
Last week, 269 campers attended Nittanyville leading up to Georgia State, with 300 the prior week for Pitt.
Lestochi estimates 50-100 people spend the night, as at least one member from each group is required to be at Game A at all times.
Nittanyville will come to life — even more so — leading up to the Michigan white out game on Oct. 21. The three-night ritual will turn into a week-long, with scheduled events each day of the week.
On Tuesday of Michigan week, campers will have a laid-back night and watch a movie on a projector. The next day, the men’s basketball team will judge a dunk contest among the campers. Thursday marks the annual trashcan football tournament, and the proceeds go toward Lift for Life, which supports rare disease research. And Friday night, students will relax with some yoga.
Camping from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. each night, Lestochi estimated he spends about 70 hours outside Gate A during week-longs, which take place once per season.
He hopes for at least 1,000 campers leading up to the white out this year. Who knows? Maybe they’ll be able to beat the record, which was set in 2012 leading up to the Ohio State game, of 1,200 campers.
As for this weekend, Lestochi predicts a 34-17 Penn State win in Kinnick Stadium. But he said some fans have “nervous, unsettling” feelings because of past meetups with the Hawkeyes.
“I think some people are obviously worried because it’s a night game in Iowa City,” he said. “At the same time, though, people are confident in the athletes we have.”