Last weekend, the annual IUPatty’s celebration got out of hand pretty quickly. Early Saturday morning, two unrelated shootings took place, and one man eventually died from his injuries.
It’s important to note that none of the people involved in either shooting were IUP students. In fact, three of them (including one of the suspects) were from Indiana.
Regardless, many residents have voiced their strong opinions on the weekend and how it is handled by both the university and local law enforcement officials. A petition on Change.org titled “Concerned citizens against IUPatty’s events” began Saturday and had 1,273 signatures as of Monday evening. Many of those who signed the petition, including House Majority Leader Dave Reed, left comments demanding the event be put to a stop, which is obviously easier said than done.
Indiana residents are not in the wrong to be upset about the weekend’s activities. Unfortunately, many students are equally as concerned for their safety during events such as this. However, when it’s 15,000 (or potentially more) people against a police force of significantly fewer than 15,000, there’s only so much that can be done.
Maybe a shutdown of IUPatty’s is not what Indiana residents should be petitioning for. Maybe they should instead be figuring out ways to make the most out of the situation, which comes only once each year. Obviously, the conditions are not ideal for the people who do not wish to partake in the celebration. But, are there truly no ways to benefit from an excess of visitors to your town for two days? We find that pretty hard to believe.
For example, one family that lives near Grandview Avenue, a common area for IUP students to gather on celebratory weekends, took it upon themselves to raise money for their child’s college fund by selling hot dogs to students. Other residents were seen collecting empty beer cans from the streets to either donate to an organization they care about, or cash in for their own use. Business at local eateries was booming.
And if you don’t want to make the most of the situation, why not lock up the house, get out of town and visit your parents or family that weekend? Or plan a weekend getaway? If you head out on Friday and return Sunday afternoon, you’ll be gone before the ruckus begins and back after the more than 500 Greek life and student government members have cleaned up the streets. Though the date does change every year due to IUP’s spring break, it’s usually set by the beginning of the semester. Unhappy residents can, and should, plan accordingly.
We’re not saying IUPatty’s is the best thing to happen to the Indiana community. Of course it’s noisy, destructive and, unfortunately, sometimes people get hurt. It’s a disappointing side effect to living in a college town. But no matter how hard community organizations or law enforcement officials try to stop it, it’s still going to go on.
When life hands you lemons, make some lemonade. Maybe even set up a booth in your front yard and sell cups of it for $1 – it beats waiting an hour in the Sheetz line just for a chaser.