With less than a month to go till St. Pats, Missouri S&T has already started the celebrations. Traditionally, St. Patrick's Day is held on March 17th every year and marks the arrival of Christianity to Ireland. It is recognized as an Irish-American cultural holiday that includes numerous parades, heavy drinking and eating, and vibrant display of the color green. While St. Patrick’s Day is usually celebrated on March 17th every year. In 1908, Rolla began its unique St. Pat’s celebration, which has its own history and annual celebratory period. As much as we all hate Mizzou, the origin of our beloved celebration is rooted in our sister school. While Mizzou may lay claim to the idea, our St. Pat’s has surpassed theirs in both breadth of tradition and breadth of notoriety.
It all started in 1908, when students were denied a holiday to celebrate this auspicious day. In retaliation, students plotted secretly and protested class. With the assistance of the School Directors secretary, Alice, who was also sweet on George Menefee, helped the students by informing Menefee (St. Pat) of the faculty’s anger with the large absences in class. Menefee, shillelagh in hand, arranged and led a hasty parade of students towards Norwood Hall to confront the faculty. The next year, March 17th was scheduled as a school holiday. St. Pat’s has since become a tradition of our school and represents a large part of the identity and culture at Missouri S&T. In fact, one of the more infamous St. Pat’s traditions on our campus, since the discontinuation of Alice, is snake invasion. This game was started by the junior class as a way to initiate freshman to the organization, but is now a tradition among freshman of all participating organizations. The tradition pays homage to our patron saint, St. Patrick, who drove all the snakes out of Ireland. Freshman females are required to use a decorated walking stick, while freshman males are expected to use a decorated tree trunk, called a “shillelagh” (representing George Menefee), in order to club rubber snakes ‘to death’ before biting off their heads. This being the 109th St. Pat’s all participating students are required to do 109 “annuals” and answer a St. Pat’s themed question before biting off the head of their snake. Snake invasion is from March 6th to March 8th.
The student-run St. Pat’s board holds events leading up to the highly anticipated celebration and can be seen counting down the ‘daze’ until St. Pats outside the library. Naturally, 100 daze and 50 daze are of more significance to the board and the student body. When the countdown gets to 50 daze, the board organizes a trivia night for all the clubs, sororities and fraternities to earn points to get a leg up in the more competitive, campus-wide side of St. Pat’s. The competition officially starts at the beginning of each Spring semester, wherein every “Green Friday,” organizations show their excitement through parody song according to the designated theme of that week and by wearing the signature green sweatshirt in order to earn points. Points are also earned through participation in the trivia event, the blood drive and bone marrow registry, the canned food drive, snake pits, and other organized events/activities.
Other notable events put on by the board include the parade, the concert and coronation. This year the St. Pat’s concert will feature the band, Sick Puppies, near the Bandshell on March 18th after the parade down Pine Street. The parade is a great display by organizations, both campus and local, and local businesses. The morning of the parade, St. Pat’s board alumni get up early to paint at least 12 blocks of the city kelly green..The downtown parade starts from the Grotto, a basement bar owned and operated by Mike Greenway, a Board alumnus, and is held on the second Saturday of St. Pat’s. Many alumni gather in Grotto to celebrate St. Pat’s by drinking its famous “Street Painter” shot. The shot gets it’s name as it is traditionally enjoyed after finishing painting the street green. Once the parade starts, people can be seen lining the street catching beads and candy thrown from the floats. I personally recommend that should you chose to watch the parade, that you wear something green unless you want to be affectionately pinched. Besides the green streets and attire, artificially colored, green beer is sold at the Grotto and the on-campus beer garden to further the celebration and union between students and returning alumni. Coronation is a fantastic event by itself, with fireworks and traditional Irish humor. Ultimately, there is no questioning the effort and hard work put in by the board reps to pull off all the planned events. It is not all work and no play for the board as they still truly love the celebration and love seeing all their effort pay off. Those interested in knowing more about the St. Pat’s Board are welcome to attend their weekly meeting on Thursday at 7:45 pm in Fulton Hall 227.
Every year, students work hard to make this year’s St. Pat’s the BEST EVER, so take advantage of our scheduled holiday. Keep your green clothes on hand and get ready to make some memories at this year’s St. Pat’s.