Penn State’s homecoming celebration is one of the largest homecoming celebrations across the country. Alumni that graduated decades ago make the trip home to Happy Valley to partake in the celebration, and the Lion Ambassadors have their own homecoming tradition by planning an event called Guard the Lion Shrine.
Held immediately after the homecoming parade, Guard the Lion Shrine is an event full of music, games, activities, and food all centered around the Lion Shrine in the northwest part of campus. The Penn State ROTC volunteers their time to stand guard at the shrine, allowing for plenty of photo-ops for students, alumni, and visitors alike.
Guard the Lion Shrine is based off of the tradition of guarding the beloved Lion Shrine from defacement from rival universities. One of the best known stories about guarding the Lion Shrine comes from when Sue Paterno and a friend covered the shrine in orange latex paint to incite interest in that year’s homecoming football game against Syracuse. They left the scene in a getaway car because they thought they had been spotted by campus police. The paint washed off easily, but Syracuse fans later doused the shrine oil-based paint, making the removal process much more difficult.
This year's Guard the Lion Shrine took place on Friday, October 7, 2016 following the Homecoming Parade.