Updated: Oct 16
Student organizations at Salisbury University are working to bring school spirit back to campus through tailgating. Though the ghost of past tailgates still haunts this sporting tradition.
According to WMDT, SU held its first tailgate in 2016, an effort championed by the student government association. Tailgating was intended to bring more people to the games, former SGA Vice President Savannah Albright said.
Issues occurred on Feb. 18, 2017, as Delmarva Now reported hundreds of students attending a tailgate had spilled into the surrounding area. New rules were created to increase game attendance, Vice President of Student Affairs Dane Foust said.
"The main purpose of instituting tailgating was to show support for our athletics programs by helping to bolster attendance, and to create a tradition through which the campus community could show pride, enthusiasm and Sea Gull spirit," Foust said.
SU transformed tailgating into a “Flock Party” in 2019 by blocking off both ends of Wayne St. and offering their own food trucks and beer, The SU Flyer reported. Yet the turn out was still underwhelming for Amelia Trotter, a former varsity softball player.
“I’m kinda disappointed with the amount of people that are here right now, but maybe people just don’t know about it as much,” Trotter said.
The spirit of tailgating may rise once more as SGA Vice President Juan Adames works to raise it from the grave.
A petition Adames started in June has 943 out of its prospective 1000 signatures. For comparison, SU has approximately 6,000 students, according to the SU website.
Before tailgating may be brought back, SU is first trying a new student exclusive section in seagull stadium. This would provide students a space to show their maroon and gold pride after the pre-game tailgate.
A list of other incentives may also help bolster attendance, which may help bring back the tailgate, Adames says. Adames said the possibility of free food exists, as well as raffles for items such as headphones or other devices.
“Once we get that engagement up, we can see that tailgate come right after,” Adames
Tatum Vorsteg, a freshman with a nursing major, believes the student section would help raise attendance. Other colleges have student sections, Vorsteg said.
“My sister goes to a big football school and they do a student section and they absolutely love it,” Vorsteg said.
Adames says if the student section tests work out, tailgating should return by homecoming.
Lexie Burdette, a freshman with a psychology major, thinks the tailgate will be a success if SU communicates with the students. After COVID-19, many of the students are more aware of the precautions they have to take in public spaces, Burdette said.
“We should be able to go about it in an appropriate manner where there’s not alot of chaos,” Burdette said.
By NATHANAEL MILLER
Featured graphic courtesy of Brooke Birckhead