Rachael’s Story


Rachael Savio

Upon reading this prompt I was immediately struck with a few words from the Penn State Homecoming mission statement, “to celebrate tradition and instill pride in all members of the Penn State family”. During my time here at Penn State I have been fortunate enough to serve as the Penn State Homecoming 2021 Parade Director.
Through my position I am fortunate enough to interact with all members of the Penn State community including: our current students, our recently graduated students, our devoted alumni, current faculty and staff members, and most importantly, the larger Penn State and State College community members. I have the unique opportunity to hear about why they love the university and how the homecoming parade is not only part of their Penn State story and legacy but a part of their Penn State identity.
I’ve heard from dozens of students, grinning from ear to ear, tell me about the homecoming parade when they were little. Now they have the opportunity to be a part of the legacy, walking in the parade and being that big kid that some young future Nittany Lion aspires to be. I hear from alumni who fondly reminisce about their own time being in the parade and watching it all these years as it grows and evolves. Watching as the faces change but the spirit remains the same and retelling all the best memories of previous parades.
As the Parade Director I have taken a careful interest in welcoming every member of the Penn State community, local and global, are what make the university unique and strong. You don’t get the warm feeling in your chest coming over the mountain to see Beaver stadium without immediately thinking of the people who make you feel like a Penn Stater. Highlighting and uplifting our community is the way to honor Penn State long past my time here. The local community is the one who sees this parade every single year while I only get to call it my own for the few short years that I am here. The community makes Penn Staters “Penn Staters”. Without the familiar faces and feeling of home we wouldn’t continue to return and reminisce on about the fond times we’ve had.
If there is one thing I hope to be proud of in my time here at Penn State, it would not be the academic experience I have had, or the friends and relationships I’ve made. It would be creating a feeling of home for as many Penn Staters as possible and continuing to fulfill the traditions that we hold in our hearts. I hope this year’s parade instills pride in the alumni and community members who come to see it. Pride in the way we choose to come together and value tradition, memory, and history. My year as the Parade Director is no match for the years that the devout community and alumni have valued the event. I can only hope as a future alumnus to uplift and participate in the traditions that keep our history alive. You can bet I’ll be returning to the Homecoming Parade every year I am able!