When Danny Haden began here at Penn State Berks, there was no Lion present at sporting events, banging a cowbell and creating an uproar of cheers amongst the stands. Although he says he fell in love with Berks the moment he toured the campus, he wished the campus had as much spirit as University Park does. During Danny’s sophomore year, the girls basketball team hosted the end of the year NEAC tournament, which got him thinking about school spirit and of course the Nittany Lion. He then mentioned to the former campus life director, John Gallagher, that “it would be nice to have a lion at a sporting event for once.” According to Danny, Gallagher left the room and came back a few minutes later, to inform him that he (Danny) would appear as the lion that weekend.
Although not many people had showed up for the Quarter and Semi-finals, Danny didn’t get discouraged. “After the girls won their semifinals game, I made a facebook event for the finals, telling anyone who was coming to wear white, and to be LOUD.” The girls basketball team brought their A game, winning the finals, and Danny brought his A game too. “I made a defense sign, I brought a Penn State flag, I danced in the lion suit (badly might I add) and I used my cowbell,” he said. Following the girls win, Danny was asked by the Reading Phillies to be the Nittany Lion at their home opener, and soon after was asked again by them to be the Nittany Lion for the Mascot Birthday Bash. “Finally,” Danny says, “at the start of my junior year, the athletic director chose me to be the lion for all sporting events at berks, officially making me the mascot for Penn State Berks.” Way to go Danny!
However, this is only one of the many roles Danny plays on campus. You may know of him as the president and founder of The Berks Student Section for sporting events which he named “The Pride”. Or maybe you’ve recognized him as an active member of THON, Speak Up! For Autism, or CAB, where he represents The Chair of Finance. He also serves as a Residence Assistant for first floor Juniper, Evergreen, and Pepperwood of the Woods dorms. Danny is a former cheerleader and does his own photography which is self-named D.Haden Photography (check it out on facebook!).
So how does this ambitious guy keep from getting overly stressed? Danny says it’s music, first and foremost. He enjoys listening to Yellowcard, Boyce Avenue, Safetysuit, and even Taylor Swift! He also says that going out for walks is really helpful, and of course playing video games, watching movies, his photography, and photoshopping.
As a senior, Danny knows his time is limited here, and with that in mind, he urges students to cherish their time here at Penn State because, “the moment you graduate, you’ll wish you had those four plus years back.” However, more than anything, he wants there to be just as much pride here as there is up at University Park, hoping that the students who stay at Berks for four years are proud to, and won’t envy those that do go on to State College. “Berks is still Penn State,” he says, “and people shouldn’t say ‘I hate it here, I’d rather be at State College.’ In the long run, you’re still getting the same education. In light of all things, it’s the college you go to, not the campus you’re at. Your diploma says Penn State University, not Penn State Berks. You should have “Penn State Pride” no matter what campus you attend.” Danny’s advice? It’s clear: Be thankful of the opportunities presented to you. Get involved, keep your priorities straight, make a difference, chase a dream, and most importantly, show your “Penn State Pride”!