Turnout was low at the season’s first tailgate on Saturday, but students who did attend said they still had fun in light of regulations introduced last Jan. in response to the fatal U-Haul crash at the 2011 Harvard-Yale tailgate.
Saturday’s football game against Colgate marked the first tailgate with new regulations — which ban beer kegs and U-Hauls and require that all tailgating activities remain within a zone called the “student tailgate village,” all stands be set up before 8:30 a.m. and the tailgate finish by kick-off. The rules were initially met with resistance from students who feared they would significantly change the tailgate experience, and last week, only the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity planned to hold a tailgate. Though students interviewed at the tailgate said they still enjoyed the festivities, turnout at the event was lower than in years past.
“We do feel students enjoyed the tailgate and the space so I’m confident and hopeful that attendance will grow as the season progresses,” said Natalie Gonzalez, Associate Director for Varsity Sports Administration.
At the tailgate, the University hired two DJs, set up a beer garden which provided over-21 students with two free beers each, and supplied students with free food from a catering company. Students nearly filled the entire marked-off student tailgating village, and Gonzalez said administrators could expand the space for future tailgates, such as the Princeton or Harvard ones, as needed. Most tailgating fixtures provided by administrators will be continued for the remainder of this season’s tailgates.
Despite the tailgate’s amenities, Billy Fowkes ’14, president of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, estimated Saturday’s turnout as roughly half that of the first tailgate last year, even with the day’s poor weather conditions taken into account. Though SAE did not hold a tailgate, he said, several fraternity brothers attended to determine whether to hold a tailgate in the future.
The only fraternity that held an official tailgate was ADPhi . Still, the majority of ADPhi students interviewed said they had fun at the tailgate despite the new regulations.
“I really didn’t think this tailgate would be any good, but I’ve been surprised at how fun this is,” said Jackson Logie ’14, an ADPhi brother.
Logie added that his fraternity plans to attend every tailgate this season.
Teresa Benet ’13, another tailgate attendee, said the new rules would be frustrating for under-21 students, but that they work well for over-21 students because of the free beer.
“The police won’t constantly badger us to prove that we’re 21,” Benet said.
Philip Gross ’13, another ADPhi brother, said most of his friends in attendance were over 21, while the younger brothers stayed on campus instead.
Still, Brendan Gibson ’10 said he found the tailgate to be drastically different than in years past, in part because of the new regulations. Because fraternities would bring couches and futons in U-Hauls in the past, he said, those features will likely be gone from future tailgates.
Calhoun student Whitney Schumacher ’13 said she had little difficulty setting up the Calhoun tent, and in the past Calhoun has set up its tent by 8:30 a.m.
Yale’s football team lost to Colgate 47-24.