Though several fraternities who normally attend tailgates will not be present at the first tailgate of the 2012 football season this Saturday, fraternity leaders and other students interviewed said the new tailgate regulations did not affect their decisions.
Last January, administrators issued new tailgating restrictions — prohibiting U-Hauls and kegs, confining student tailgating activity to a “tailgating village” and requiring students to leave the tailgating area by kickoff — in response to a fatal U-Haul crash at last year’s Harvard-Yale tailgate. Administrators have recently expressed concern that new restrictions will discourage students from attending tailgates this fall, so they have taken measures, such as increased bus routes to the stadium, to maintain interest in the events. Leaders of three fraternities that regularly host tailgate events but will not attend this weekend said special circumstances led to their decision, and that they intend to participate in future tailgates.
Daniel Tay ’14, president of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, said he thinks the tailgating experience will change with the new restrictions, but students need to continue to attend to make it fun. He added that his fraternity will not take part in Saturday’s tailgate because it is holding a party at its house the night before.
“[The success of tailgates] will depend on the effort that we as students are willing to put in to making the tailgate our own,” he said. “Hopefully once we really see how things go on Saturday and beyond we can respond appropriately, and do what makes sense to make it fun.”
Two weeks ago, administrators and members of the Yale Police Department met with fraternity leaders to discuss ways to keep the tailgating experierience fun despite new regulations. The bus route shuttling students to the field has added a new pick-up location on Chapel and York Streets for convenience, and Yale-sponsored tents at the tailgating village will have free food, corn hole sets and beer for students over 21, said Natalie Gonzalez, associate director for varsity sports administration. Gonzalez said she expects the tailgating experience to be similar to past years, adding that the new location is larger and more convenient for students to access the Yale Bowl.
In contrast to the other fraternities, Alpha Delta Phi fraternity will set up a tailgate at Saturday’s game, ADPhi President Cooper Godfrey ’14 said.
“We are doing it to keep the tailgate tradition alive and support the school and football team,” he said.
Godfrey said he thinks the tailgating atmosphere will be significantly different this year due to the new restrictions, since cars cannot drive onto the tailgating field. While ADPhi usually brings kegs to the tailgate, the fraternity does not plan on bringing any alcohol this weekend, he said.
Billy Fowkes ’14, president of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, said his fraternity will not hold a tailgate this weekend because many of SAE’s members have a rugby match on Saturday and the fraternity does not have enough funds in their budget to buy tailgating supplies for this weekend.
Six out of nine students interviewed said they would not be participating in Saturday’s tailgating activities, but not because of the new tailgating restrictions.
One student who said he will be at the tailgate, Jack McAllister ’16, said he wants to go because he is excited to experience his first tailgate as a freshman.
“I am planning on going to the tailgate to hang out with friends and socialize,” he said. “The tailgate will be an opportunity to meet even more people.”
The next home football game after Saturday’s faceoff against Colgate will take place on Oct. 6, against Dartmouth.