Sara Butcher is a junior pursuing a major in public relations with a double minor in business and digital media trends and analytics. She hopes to pursue a career in the sports industry after graduation, but she will serve as Nittanyville’s first female president during her senior year.
HC: What is Nittanyville, and how can students become a part of it?
SB: Nittanyville is a student-run organization where students can camp outside of Beaver Stadium Gate A Wednesday night through Saturday morning leading up to a home football game for front row seats. All students are welcome to participate. Grab a group of friends; if you have a tent, great, but if not, no worries! Nittanyville has a tent rental program for those without a tent.
HC: How did you first get involved with Nittanyville?
SB: My friend and I went to the general meeting the second week of classes our freshman year which was an info session for the 2013 football season. I had some knowledge of the organization at that time, but I was very intrigued after the info session and was eager for my first campout – and I haven’t stopped since. I’ve missed only one campout my entire college career.
HC: What is your most memorable Nittanyville experience?
SB: My most memorable Nittanyville experience was the Thursday night before the Michigan game this past season. Every Thursday night at Nittanyville we have some visitors from the football team come up to Gate A and say hi. About 45 minutes after the team had left, Carl Nassib shows up out of nowhere all by himself to hang out with the campers. He literally stayed for an hour and played card games with my friends and I (he should stick to football – I beat him in every game of spoons we played). It was a moment I will never forget. He was the most down-to-earth kid I had ever met.
HC: How did your past positions prepare you for your current role as president?
SB: I was just a regular camper my freshman year so I spent that year learning the ins and outs of the organization. I decided to run for an organizational officer position my sophomore year. This is a committee of about five people that work under the executive board to help them with anything they need. An OO’s position focuses primarily on gameday processes such as lining up groups and checking wristbands prior to swipe in. My junior year, I served as the public relations officer. This was the role that prepared me the most for president. I was responsible for running and maintaining all social media accounts, creating graphics for campouts and answering any questions that campers may have about the organization and our events. I would also occasionally attend meetings with other athletics officials alongside the president and VP to coordinate events for the season. The PR chair was a huge role that allowed me to prove to myself that I could handle an even bigger responsibility.
HC: What does it mean to you to be the first-ever female president of the organization?
SB: It’s indescribable, honestly. I feel like most people wouldn’t expect to have a female in this position, but here I am! Girls like sports. Girls know sports. We like to cheer on our favorite teams just as much as the next person. It’s an honor to be the first one, but what makes me happy is the female involvement in Nittanyville. There are so many passionate women that are a part of this organization and have had a role in the Nittanyville Coordination Committee that I have gotten to meet over the past three years. I can’t wait to see who the second female president will be.
HC: How do you hope to make this year the best year yet for Nittanyville?
SB: We want to increase our numbers as much as possible especially for the Ohio State campout. My executive committee and I are trying to make the weeklong campout bigger than ever this upcoming season. We are looking to have an event every single night during the weeklong campout. Our most popular events are the Trashcan Football Tournament and the Slam Dunk Contest with the basketball team, but we want to expand and give our campers even more to be excited about.
HC: If you had to sum up Nittanyville in one word, what would it be?
SB: Insane – and for a few reasons. First off, every single person who is involved with Nittanyville is insane. We are college kids who camp out on concrete three nights a week leading up to a home football game. Who does that? But that’s what makes the organization insane in a good way. The atmosphere at Gate A is unlike anything else I have experienced in my three years at Penn State. Everyone at Gate A has a passion for supporting our football team. Everyone comes together for the same reason, and I love the sense of community Nittanyville has. I have met some of my best friends and some of the most influential people at Nittanyville, and the thought of never getting involved with this organization like I did my freshman year breaks my heart. I simply just never want to be anywhere else when I’m there.
You heard it here. If you have the passion and determination, gender does not matter when it comes to being a great leader of a great organization. We can’t wait to see the amazing things that Sara will be sure to bring to Nittanyville next football season!