Matt Koepke ’06 has done what most Nittany Lion fans have only imagined: roamed the sidelines of Beaver Stadium on game day. And he’s done it not once, but three times. How did he get there? It’s easier than you think.
“As a Penn State fan, walking out of the tunnel and seeing Beaver Stadium from that perspective is surreal,” Koepke said. “The team is warming up 10 feet away, you get to see the Blue Band march onto the field, and you actually feel the roar of the crowd when the Lion comes onto the field,” he said.
Koepke first experienced the thrill of being on the sidelines during the Illinois game in 2008. Last season he did it twice, for the night game with Iowa and the Homecoming contest against Minnesota. Koepke said he’s usually too wrapped up in everything going on before the game to notice past players or other prominent sideline visitors. The one exception: “I’m always on the lookout for Joe Paterno,” he said. Koepke also scored a photo with former Nittany Lion standout (and Heisman Trophy runner–up) Blair Thomas ’89 before one game.
How does an industrial engineer from near Pittsburgh score so many sideline passes? By simply using points earned with the Penn State Rewards Program, sponsored by the Alumni Association and Bank of America. Koepke earns rewards points each time he uses his Penn State Alumni Association MasterCard® credit card to make a purchase. “I use my credit card for most big purchases and also have most of my bills attached to it,” he said.
In addition to redeeming 18,500 points for each of his three sideline passes, Koepke also cashed in 15,000 points for a VIP tour of Beaver Stadium last year. Other rewards available through the program include Paterno-signed helmets and balls, game–worn jerseys, and unique experiences like dinner on the 50–yard line, presumably not during a game.
Koepke, who’s on the boards of both the Alumni Association's Greater Pittsburgh Chapter and the Dance Marathon Alumni Interest Group (DMAIG), is redeeming his points this year for a good cause. “I’m donating passes for a pre-game tour of Beaver Stadium for Homecoming this year,” Koepke said. Those passes along with two tickets to the game will be auctioned off to raise money for the Pittsburgh Chapter’s scholarship fund.
Penn Staters can accumulate rewards points every time they use their credit card to make a purchase, featuring an image of either the Nittany Lion or Paterno. Points are good for five years, and rewards begin with as few as 2,500 points. View the complete online catalog.
In addition to earning these exciting experiences, cardholders are also helping the Penn State Alumni Association sustain programs and events that connect alumni to each other and help today’s students.
More information on the Penn State Rewards Program and other financial services offered to Penn State alumni by Bank of America is available here.