Christian Student Fellowship at University Park runs a concession stand at each home Penn State football game. CSF Berks helps out at 1-2 games per year. This past weekend was our game for this year.
We headed up Friday night, arriving late. Actually, me saying we arrived late betrays that I am old. As we drove into town around ten pm the streets were filled with college students. For college students, ten is early. I stayed with one of my former students from Berks, now a senior at University Park. After giving me a quick tour of his room he went out…and came back at 3 AM! The only reason I know 3 AM even exists is because I have a 5 month old baby! It goes without saying that when he got back I was asleep.
Visiting University Park each year is good because I get to see students, like the one I just mentioned, who spent their first two years at Berks and are finishing up at University Park. It is nice to connect with them, to see how they are doing, how they have adjusted to the big campus (we estimated you could fit about ten Penn State Berks campuses inside University Park…at least).
It is also good for Penn State Berks students to be able to visit University Park. For some of them, this is their first visit to the campus where they will be attending next year. At first glance they cannot conceive how they will adjust to such a huge place. All I have to do is point to the juniors and seniors who once were starry-eyed at visiting UP and say, “you’ll be fine“.
Working the concession stand is always a lot of fun but very stressful. I often break out my old-man routine, telling the students I have been working the stand since they were in elementary school...in those days it snowed for every game…and Penn State won every game…and we had to walk up hill both ways to the stadium. You get the idea, I lay it on quite thick. This sounds good until the side of the popcorn machine falls off, dispensing a pile of popcorn at my feet. Then I look like an idiot. At any rate, arriving at the stadium around 9 AM and being there till almost 4 makes for a long day in the concession business.
Penn State gives CSF 13% of the profits. We were trying to figure out how they came up with such a random number. My guess is they calculated how much they’d have to pay people minimum wage to work the stand and went about 1 percent lower than that to get us to volunteer. But we are not complaining! CSF makes about $1,000 per game which funds all kinds of aspects of our ministry from cookouts to helping to pay for spring break.
After the game the students from Berks, joined by some from UP, walked around for a while. I acted like a dorky tour guide, pointing out all the things that were different from when I was in school (yes, I am that guy). We ended our day at the Creamery as some students had their first taste of Penn State Creamery Ice Cream. I brought home two gallons to enjoy in the weeks ahead!
We arrived back at Berks late. On Sunday I actually had a church visit to an EC church in Lawn, PA. It is always a blessing to be able to share what campus ministry is, especially to a group of people who seem clueless about it. By the time I got home from church I was quite tired, so I napped with my daughter, not a bad way to end a tiring and fun weekend: