The Penn State White Out Experience: Behind the Scenes

Penn State’s recent White Out event, a thrilling showdown that saw the No. 7 Nittany Lions vanquish the No. 24/22 Iowa Hawkeyes with a resounding 31-0 victory, once again reaffirmed its status as the ultimate spectacle in college football. The electrifying atmosphere drew an awe-inspiring crowd of 110,830, marking the second-largest gathering in the history of Beaver Stadium. Yet, amid all the cheers and excitement, it’s the dedicated individuals behind the scenes who deserve recognition for crafting this unforgettable Penn State experience.

Rebecca Plescia, the director of marketing and fan experience at Penn State, plays a pivotal role in orchestrating the White Out extravaganza. Her work is often subtle, but it significantly impacts the overall ambiance. Plescia collaborates closely with Dana Crouse to ensure that every detail, including the content displayed on the colossal Penn State stadium screen, is perfectly executed. The day before the game, they meticulously run through every aspect of the Penn State event, from start to finish.

On game day, Plescia arrives at Penn State’s Beaver Stadium at the crack of dawn, at 9:30 a.m., to be precise. Her responsibilities include organizing the iconic white shakers, an integral part of Penn State’s tradition. What sets these Penn State shakers apart is the addition of the university’s trademarked phrase, “The Greatest Show in College Football.” For Plescia, the true reward lies in knowing that her hard work contributes to the enjoyment of every Penn State fan in the stadium.

The Penn State White Out Experience: Behind the Scenes

“Creating an unparalleled atmosphere and experience for the Penn State student-athletes is the driving force behind my work,” Plescia affirmed. “It’s exhilarating to witness the culmination of our efforts when Penn State fans pour in, waving their shakers, cheering at the top of their lungs – it’s a gratifying sight.”

Danielle Ryan, another director of marketing and fan experience at Penn State, starts her Penn State White Out day even earlier, at a remarkable 4 a.m. Her role centers around organizing the Beaver Stadium Block Party on Curtin Road, a lively pregame festivity at Penn State. Ryan’s responsibilities include liaising with vendors, overseeing inflatables, food trucks, and arranging live musical performances to enhance the overall Penn State fan experience.

“Somebody once said, ‘we’re in the business of making memories,’ and that’s precisely how I describe what we do at Penn State,” Ryan commented. “It’s truly special when you can influence someone’s day, whether it’s a young child attending their first Penn State game or someone rekindling their love for the team. When Penn State fans leave with smiles and a desire to return, that’s the ultimate reward.”

The nerve center of Beaver Stadium at Penn State on game day is the control room, presided over by Dave Bittner, the stadium’s operations coordinator. Bittner and his dedicated team are responsible for monitoring every facet of the Penn State event, from parking logistics to the movements of both teams, ensuring seamless coordination.

Bittner’s day begins at 6 a.m., but preparing for the Penn State White Out is a year-round commitment. The area surrounding Beaver Stadium transforms into a bustling city on Penn State game day, with hundreds of thousands of people in attendance. Managing this colossal operation requires an army of 2,500 to 2,700 event staff personnel, comprising parking attendants, ticket takers, ushers, concessionaires, and more, all dedicated to making the Penn State game day experience unforgettable.

“We essentially become the third-largest city in the state on Penn State game day,” Bittner noted. “With 110,000 fans inside the stadium and an additional 20,000 to 25,000 in the parking lots, it’s an immense undertaking. But when everything runs smoothly, and Penn State fans have a great time, it’s all worth it.”

For Rodney Martin, the Penn State White Out holds a special place in his heart. A veteran PA announcer with 24 years of experience, Martin received a call from Dana Crouse that turned his dream into reality – announcing at the Penn State White Out alongside his long-time friend, Joe Putnam.

“This day has been on my mind for a long time,” Martin enthused. “The Penn State White Out is an incredible spectacle, and just being a small part of it is surreal. It’s a dream come true.”

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In conclusion, the Penn State White Out is more than just a football game; it’s a meticulously crafted experience brought to life by the dedicated individuals behind the scenes at Penn State. Their passion and hard work ensure that every Penn State fan leaves Beaver Stadium with cherished memories, making the White Out a truly magical Penn State event.

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