UNIVERSITY PARK - Beaver Stadium is expected to turn into a sea of blue this afternoon when the Penn State Nittany Lions host the Temple Owls.
Fans are asked to wear blue for the second annual Blue Out, spearheaded by graduate students Laura March and Stuart Shapiro.
"The Blue Out is a student movement to show our visual solidarity with the victims and survivors of child abuse," said Shapiro of Orange, Conn., who is in the MBA program in marketing and entrepreneurship.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Blue Out founders Stuart Shapiro and Laura March, both Penn State graduate students, hold the new shirts at The Family Clothesline in State College.
"The most important thing about the Blue Out is to raise awareness about the problems of child abuse. We don't have a monetary goal, we just have an intangible goal to raise awareness and support," said March of State College, a graduate student in art education.
March and Shapiro organized the first Blue Out at last fall's Penn State vs. Nebraska game with Penn State alumna Therese Jones.
The event, which was organized in six days, raised approximately $47,000 for child-abuse prevention charities.
March and Shapiro are asking students and members of the community to make a personal promise to make Penn State a better place in the future.
The event was planned in collaboration with One Heart: Penn State Students Against the Sexual Abuse of Children, which was formed a few days after the grand jury report was released in November detailing child sexual abuse charges against former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
"My co-founders and I realized there wasn't an organization on campus that addressed the sexual abuse of children. It was an appropriate time to have it founded," said Eric Jansen, a senior psychology major from Greencastle. "Our mission is to raise awareness and funds to help fight child abuse."
The athletic department is pleased with the students' efforts.
"By providing this kind of support, all of us can become better educated on the issue, and if choosing to do so, can provide a donation," said Greg Myford, associate athletic director for business relations and communications.
Proceeds raised from the sale of Blue Out T-shirts and merchandise will benefit the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.
Penn State asked PCAR to partner with them to enhance its ability to detect and respond to sexual abuse.
"They gave us $1.5 million to help them over a three-year period. We worked with their human resources department to put together a curriculum to train faculty, staff and volunteers," said Kristen Houser, PCAR spokeswoman.
Blue Out T-shirts, designed by March, have been selling well at several State College-area businesses, including The Family Clothesline.
"There has been a lot of interest and excitement for the T-shirts. It is a very unique design; we are excited to carry them," said Caroline Gummo, advertising manager.
T-shirts will be available outside the stadium at today's game, and members of One Heart will hand out educational brochures and blue ribbons. Volunteers will also accept donations for PCAR inside the stadium.
Plans call for One Heart to take over the Blue Out and make it an annual event.
"It is definitely an appropriate event. We want people to know we [Penn State] are more than just football," Jansen said. "We want to raise money to help people who are affected by this and that we will not forget about them."
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.