Going on a ride with PSU’s Happy Thursday Club
Every Thursday Penn State senior film major Tanner Sweeney climbs onto his bike (or unicycle), gathers his friends and bike club members, and yells Happy Thursday at the people he rides by.
Tanner is the informal leader of Happy Thursday, a club that is mostly comprised of members from the Penn State Bicycle Club. It is open to other students who also have bikes, skateboards, longboards, and even Vespa’s. The Happy Thursday Group meets every Thursday evening (rain or shine) at 5:30, in front of Pattee Library. The members then mount their various modes of transportation and ride around campus and downtown State College yelling Happy Thursday at members of the community.
The Happy Thursday route begins at the library and ends in downtown State College. They ride by popular spots like the Lion Shrine, East Halls, and down both College and Beaver Avenues. Many of the students who see the Happy Thursday bikers feel compelled to smile and wave back.
Happy Thursday was originally brought to the Penn State campus three years ago by former Penn State student Will Morgan. "Will first saw the ride at another school" explained Tanner "and thought that by bringing it to Penn State he would help to bring cheer and positivity to the community." The original members chose to have the ride on Thursdays because college students are already very enthusiastic about Fridays, and Thursdays are usually ignored. They believed that having Happy Thursday would give students and other community members the nudge they need to finish the week.
On a normal Thursday Tanner says he can expect for there to be around 10-15 Happy Thursday riders, and on especially sunny or warm days the number of riders usually increases drastically. The largest number of Happy Thursday participants was 70, and Tanner attributes that high number to the fact that Chipotle donated free burritos. There have been times during the winter months when Tanner arrived at the library and no one showed up. On those occasions Tanner says he still gets on his bike and spreads the cheer.
Tanner believes that students enjoy the Happy Thursday ride, and is hopeful that the tradition will continue even after he graduates.
Happy Thursday weighs in
Midway through their routine bike ride, Happy Thursday members take a pit stop. This isn't your normal pit stop. During their break the riders pile onto a giant scale and measure how many pounds of Happy Thursday they have for the week.