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Desires for SU tailgating revival surge


Salisbury University students enjoying themselves as they prepare to watch the first football game in September, 2023. Image courtesy of Meghan Bean.

Many memorable sporting event starts with cold beer and greasy food cooked in a parking lot right outside the stadium. At Salisbury University, a pre-game ritual of this sort has yet to cement itself as an SU tradition.


That’s because tailgating has been absent since the school’s 2019 efforts to create “Flock Party.” Since then, Sea Gull Stadium has remained quiet before games, which students say has impacted the student section’s unfulfilled potential. 


Jacob Kane, an SU senior majoring in Urban and Regional Planning, believes a return to tailgating would draw more students to sports events. 


“Tailgating would definitely spike attendance,” Kane said. “It fosters a community.”


Amanda Kassa, an SU senior majoring in International Relations, thinks the return of tailgating would foster a good sense of community within the school, while also providing a great opportunity for students, alumni and the community to all enjoy something together.  


“People would want to come to it,” Kassa said. “Like alumni; that would be something that they would want to do and probably help support.” 


The Student Government Association (SGA) has been working hard for years to revive tailgating, which was discontinued as a result of the former SU president’s disdain towards rambunctious behavior among students around the stadium. Juan Adames, the SGA Vice President, has made it clear that things are different with SU’s current president, Dr. Carolyn Lepre.


“She is all for the idea,” Adames said.


The disconnect seems to lie within Student Affairs. Adames said Student Affairs did not appreciate that after the tailgates students would just go party elsewhere instead of going to the game. This ultimately defeats the purpose of the tailgate. 


“Numbers for tailgating were up,” Adames said. “But numbers for the games were not.”


Petitions to revive tailgating have made their way around campus a couple times; many have gotten the required amount of signatures, but these cannot escape vetoes by the higher ups. 


Adames stressed the nature of going to the game itself. He believes that if students continue doing the things that stopped tailgating initially, there is no chance it will be brought back.


Wyatt Parks, the SGA President, believes the return of tailgating would be beneficial to the students, but not an easy task due to the many obstacles involved.


“It’s all about knowing where we want to go with it,” Parks said. “And also identifying the proper baby steps to get there.”


Mark Weedon, the former Director of Student Organizations, said tailgating is a strong way to bring the students and campus together. Regardless of the sport, he believes a rowdy atmosphere will increase attendance. 


“It builds the environment of the students,” Weedon said. “It reminds us it’s not just school, it is more of like an everyone is in this together kind of thing.”



 

KAI BENDER

Staff Writer

Featured image courtesy of Meghan Bean


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