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Q & A with the President of Nittanyville
September 20, 2013 - Darian Somers
I sat down with senior Allen Sheffield, the President of Nittanyville, and talked to him about what it's like being the President at Gate A.
Me: First campout?
Allen Sheffield: My very first campout was the weeklong campout for Michigan in 2010. That was a White House.
Me: Why did you want to do it?
Allen: I was really hesitant. One of my good buddies…he wanted to campout. He organized everything. Got a lot of people on my floor to come out. I came out and slept over two nights of the week. Did trashcan football, and knew after that first game -- I was in the second row of SF -- ever since then I've been pretty hooked on the Nittanyville experience.
Me: When did you know you wanted to keep camping out?
Allen: Probably when I first heard "We Are." The "We Are Penn State" chant from the first couple of rows during the Whiteout game. After that, I realized there is no better way to experience a Penn State football game than experiencing it in the front couple rows.
Me: Why did you want to become an officer?
Allen: I really wanted to get involved. I was really involved with football growing up. I played football all throughout high school. …I felt what's a better way to get close to the Penn State football program than giving back as a way of a student and a student leader here.
Me: What's it like being the president of Nittanyville?
Allen: It's weird. Especially, looking back as a freshman, sophomore -- even last year as an executive -- as a camper, I've always looked up to the presidents. …I have a greater appreciation for what they've done, now that I've been doing some of that role.
…As a freshman, you look up to the president. Now as a president, I'm looking up to these campers.
Me: What is your favorite part about being president?
My favorite part about being the president is the part I probably stress the most about, and that's giving pregame speeches during drumlines.
I've seen some great speeches. And I've seen some speeches go flat. Troy [Weller] (president last year), I think every one of his [speeches] got the students pumped up.
The first week I tried to prepare something, get something down. Last week, I just came up here and whatever came to my mind and let it flow. I get fired up here. I love this university. I love everything about it. They are pretty fun. It's your voice. You're addressing 300, 400 campers. To get them fired up, to get them primed for a football game in Beaver Stadium, we have some extremely loud crowds the past two games and that all starts in the pregame drumline. That speech sets the tone.
Me: What goes in to a good speech?
Allen: It all depends. Last week, I heard a quote from the University of Central Florida offensive coordinator kind of dissing the student section. I kind of used that as fuel for fire.
… Sometimes, if I get sometime during the week, I try to think about what I'm going to say. Sometimes I don't think about anything until I start swiping in campers on Saturday. I just try to get my thoughts together and say something.
I always try to keep it with some very dramatic, intense points where campers really feel the intensity of my passion. It really varies from week to week.
Me: Craziest campout?
Allen: Alabama. Alabama of my sophomore year. It was a weeklong, it rained the whole time. We still had crazy stuff going on the whole time. The Blue Band came out. All of this throughout the rain. We had a slip n' slide. That was definitely the craziest.
Me: What's your favorite memory not of a Saturday?
Allen: Probably the first night this year. As a president, you get elected in Januray. You have all that time when you are planning. The football season starts for you in January. I was planning, getting stuff ready. Getting merchandise done. …Just being able to be back up here that first week. Seeing all that hard work coming to play.
I'm a sophomore at Penn State and an officer in Nittanyville, a student run organization that camps out before every home Penn State football game. Follow me on Twitter @StuffSomersSays for more updates from Gate A.