The biggest tailgate of this year’s football season may happen a week earlier than usual — and 135 miles closer to home.
New tailgating regulations for this year’s Harvard-Yale game have caused at least three student groups to scrap plans for the Game tailgate altogether and instead focus their efforts on planning tailgates for the Yale-Princeton game. Such a shift has become something of a refrain: Harvard’s 2006 tailgate regulations led student groups to put more resources into tailgate festivities for Yale’s home game against Princeton and forego the effort for that year’s Game as well.
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Harvard’s regulations this year include a ban on U-Haul trucks and a requirement that tailgates close by kickoff, a first for Harvard in recent years. The rules for last year’s tailgate in New Haven, on the other hand, permitted U-Hauls and allowed students to mingle until halftime.
This year’s sanctions continue what has been a gradual tightening of tailgate policies since 25 students were hospitalized after the 2004 Game in Cambridge. Two years later, students were banned from bringing alcohol into the tailgate, and Harvard reported no hospitalizations.
But then, as now, the modified regulations prompted an outcry from students. Residential college tailgate planners said Harvard’s rules will make organizing this year’s Game tailgate burdensome for Yale student groups, who often depend on the trucks to facilitate tailgating outside Harvard Stadium.
Silliman SAC member Jennifer Lin ’09 said that the Silliman committee has decided that Harvard’s restrictions are too prohibitive and that the college will not have a tailgate. She added that they have definite plans for a tailgate at Yale-Princeton. Saybrook, too, has also decided not to tailgate at Harvard, “because we don’t want to deal with all the rules,” as Saybrook SAC chair Bryan Twarek ’10 put it.
“Instead we are going big at the Princeton game,” he said.
Other colleges are continuing with plans for Harvard — but not without a few complications. Courtney Pannell ’11, the Student Activities Committee chair of the Morse College Council, said Morse is hiring a catering company for both the Princeton and the Harvard tailgate, but that Harvard’s new rules may make it difficult for the college’s caterer to use its truck, set up a tent and prepare food before 10 a.m.
“It’s definitely a lot of red tape that we have to find a way around,” said Pannell, a staff reporter for the News. “Most of the colleges are putting their efforts, time and money on the Princeton tailgate and making that the big tailgate for the year.”
Berkeley College also plans to go ahead with its Harvard tailgate, but it too may face a few hurdles due to Harvard’s rules, Berkeley SAC member Rachel Taylor ’10 said.
“Mostly it is an issue of transportation,” she said. “We have to get the grill and all of our materials inside the tailgate area, and without a van or U-Haul … we have no way of getting it inside.”
Of 20 students interviewed, as many said they were attending the Princeton game as said they were attending Harvard game, and some added they have concerns regarding the state of this year’s festivities at Harvard.
“There’s too many restrictions at Harvard.” said Nahin Jorgge ’11. “It’s not going to be as fun.”
Jorgge said he did not plan on trekking up to Cambridge for The Game. But as for the Elis’ clash against Princeton, he said he would be there.