By Craig Dietel
Tailgates are a staple in college life on campuses across the country. By not allowing students to take part in the age-old tradition of college tailgates, the College fails to give its students an authentic experience.
On Saturday, April 23, Student Government, with the Office of Student Affairs, finally hosted a tailgate for a varsity baseball game. Students of all ages and organizations were encouraged to attend. However, there was one condition: no alcohol.
Alcohol is certainly not needed to have a good time, but by not allowing students, who are of the legal drinking age, the chance to enjoy an alcoholic beverage isn’t fair. Imposing a limit on how much alcohol a person can bring to the tailgate would be a fairer solution.
Not allowing alcohol at a tailgate will deter those who are of age from actually attending the tailgate in the first place. The purpose of a tailgate is to bring about school spirit and get people excited to support their school and its teams. By not allowing alcohol at these tailgates, the College is not giving their alumni a reason to come back either. If Homecoming became a dry, non-alcoholic event, it’s almost certain that the number of alumni returning would diminish, so it stands to reason that if tailgates were consistent and alcohol was permitted, the College might see an influx of alumni returning regularly to partake in these events.
Many of my friends and fellow students also agree that allowing alcohol — even a restricted amount — to these tailgates would increase the amount of students and alumni who attend these games and support the teams.
It’s no secret that alcohol has the potential to cause issues in this situation, but it will cause more good than harm. The arguments from the College’s administrators who favor banning alcohol from these tailgates are within reason — they don’t want underage students drinking, students getting sent to the hospital in alcohol-related emergencies or vandalism. Since the College is prohibiting drinking at these smaller tailgates, they are going to receive the stigma of being lame and boring. Free food can entice a number of people, but once they get their free food, they might not even stay for the game.
The main fear of having alcohol at tailgates comes from Homecoming each year. However, if the school had weekly tailgates with alcohol at all of the different sporting events, it would get students accustomed to that setting and most likely offset the number of transports at larger tailgates, such as Homecoming.
Being such a high-profile event, Homecoming often causes students to drink in excess and become belligerent. If smaller scale tailgates occurred throughout the year, students would be more prone to behave at Homecoming.
I’m not asking the College to let us have a keg tapped in Lot 5 before every sporting event. However, I’m asking the College to let students, who are 21 or older, exercise their rights to have the legal limit of alcohol at a tailgate.
The fact that the College endorses a tailgate of some kind already indicates that the administration is taking a step in the right direction. Now it’s time for the administration to place some trust in the students at the College by allowing them to bring alcohol to these events.
Students share opinions around campus
Should tailgates allow alcohol?
“I think that it would (be a) benefit… (If) people want alcohol, it would find its way in.”
“Yes, but I would say that they should have some strict regulations.”