The lion’s new look: Encouraging the campus community to 'Mask Up or Pack Up'

August 24, 2020

On Aug. 20, Penn State President Eric J. Barron and several student leaders gathered to mask up the Nittany Lion Shrine, reinforcing the University’s “Mask Up or Pack Up” campaign that emphasizes the importance of each community member doing their part to limit the spread of COVID-19

The Lion Shrine’s new look was created thanks to the help of School of Theatre assistant professor Charlene Gross and draper Amanda Ferg. Between March and June, Ferg and Gross helped to provide the University community with more that 2,500 cloth masks – so the request to make one for the ‘Symbol of Our Best’ was hardly out of the ordinary. 

“When we got the request, I jumped in the car to go measure the shrine,” Gross said. In just three days, the duo made measurements and draped fabric to get the perfect fit, created a large pattern, and sewed a mask fit for the lion, complete with “We Are Penn State” stenciled and painted on the side. 

The mask, which took one whole yard of polyester-blend fabric, is approximately twelve times the size of an average adult human’s mask. In the coming weeks, masks will begin to be created for some of the lion shrines across Penn State’s Commonwealth Campuses.

While the mask will not remain on the lion, the images serve as a reminder of each Penn State community member’s personal responsibility towards keeping Penn State safe. Gross and Ferg said they appreciate being able to contribute towards the University’s efforts for campus safety. 

“I think that the ‘Mask Up or Pack Up’ messaging is necessary to convey the importance of keeping everyone safe,” Gross stated. “If [the mask on the Shrine] encourages others to wear a mask – if it helps make the community healthier – that’s what I care about.”


Last Updated August 24, 2020