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Penn State to hold 'Blue Out' to support victims, survivors of child sex abuse

Student organizers are hoping Beaver Stadium will be awash in blue for Saturday's football game against Temple.

Fans attending the "Blue Out" are being encouraged to wear blue to show solidarity with victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.

The first such event occurred for the Nov. 12 game last season against Nebraska, a week after retired defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was arrested on child sexual abuse charges. Sandusky is in jail awaiting his sentencing next month after being convicted in June of 45 criminal counts.

MBA student Stuart Shapiro, a Blue Out co-founder, said Wednesday the goal is make the Blue Out an annual event. Volunteers plan to hand out blue ribbons and collect donations for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.

Coach Bill O'Brien said he's looking forward to the team helping to raise awareness of ending the problem of child abuse.

"I believe it's going to be a great day for the Penn State community," O'Brien said Tuesday at the stadium. "And now to have the crowd dressed in blue T-shirts for the Blue Out game -- and helping put an end and to have awareness to the child abuse problem in this country and everywhere -- I think it's going to be a great day."

Organizers also plan on distributing information on recognizing warning signs and speaking to children about suspected abuse.

While the Blue Out is organized by students, the efforts are intended to reach out to Penn State workers, faculty and others in the community, Shapiro said. "We want to encompass everybody that was involved in what happened here."

He added that efforts were built on the tradition of another high-profile philanthropic event for a cause related to children -- the annual dance marathon, or THON, to raise money each February for pediatric cancer patients and research. Last year's dance marathon raised a record $10.68 million.

Shapiro said he and co-founder Laura March are graduating in May, so they plan to pass on the organization of the Blue Out to another student group founded last November called "One Heart. " Similarly, the group is also dedicated to raising money and developing educational initiatives for the cause of preventing child abuse.