By Jessica Ganga
Once again, the College is making major changes to its annual Homecoming tailgate. The new policy has sparked debate.
On Thursday, Sept. 1, a brief email sent to the College community from Vice President for Student Affairs Amy Hecht and Vice President for College Advancement John P. Donohue, both co-chairs on the Homecoming Steering Committee, detailed what was to be expected for this year’s Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 29, and highlighted the fact that the Homecoming Steering Community is looking to “ensure that all (their) guests enjoy the day safely.”
So, how is this being done? By having a third-party vendor supply alcoholic drinks and by prohibiting outside alcohol being brought into the tailgate.
Last year, the school restricted how much alcohol one person could bring into the tailgate, and in 2014, the College attempted to have two locations for a tailgate, with one for underage students and the other for students and alumni 21 years old and over. Students and alumni were so enraged by the separate tailgates that a petition circulated via change.org, and the College did not go through with its initial plan.
This time around, students pointed out how the change will take away from their Homecoming experience. By having to wait in long vendor lines for what are most likely going to be overpriced drinks, the time students are able to spend with alumni and friends is shortened.
However, the biggest problem is what might happen before the Homecoming gates even open. Each year, when a new change is put into place, students threaten to drink more alcohol before they get to the tailgate, since there are many obstacles to drinking alcohol there. With these changes, many students might drink as much as they can before they head to the tailgate, which endangers themselves and the people around them.
I do understand that the College wants to keep students’ safety a priority and that drinking doesn’t equate to the amount of fun students can have. We can have fun without being drunk. But as college students, Homecoming is a social event we look forward to — it’s the day when we can all relax and not have to worry about any bad grades or that paper that’s due the following week.
I was looking forward to finally being 21 years old at Homecoming and celebrating my senior year with friends and alumni at the College.
Sadly, the College is known for not displaying as much school spirit as larger universities, evidenced by often low attendance at sporting events and, of course, a small and hyper-supervised Homecoming tailgate.
With these changes, it seems as if administrators at the College intended to lessen the possibilities of problems arising related to alcohol, but the changes take away from the real reason we all look forward to Homecoming — students and alumni coming together. If the College really wants this to “enhance the memorable Homecoming experience,” it should come to a compromise and work with students work with students to reach a happy medium.
Despite the changes, I still encourage students to attend Homecoming, stay safe and show the College that we can be responsible for ourselves.