Student proposal would return alcohol to tailgate

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    Students are working on proposing a modified format of the student tailgate that will effectively disperse cliques during the event and allow those of age to drink alcohol, an Interfraternity Council representative said.

    Evan Berlin, Interfraternity Council president, said he and Student Body President Kelsie Johnson have worked with Panhellenic Council Representative Lindsay Ray to tout the Strategic Action Plan for Tailgating.

    The proposal would place the tailgate near the Milton Daniel and Moncrief halls and the Brown-Lupton University Union, Johnson said.

    The group came up with the plan when considering how to approach students’ complaints about the former Worth Hills and current Campus Commons tailgates, Berlin said. Factors that made the representatives want to change the tailgates were the ban on alcohol and time limitations, which made it less accessible to students, he said.

    Junior marketing major Brett Medlin, 21, said he stopped going to the student tailgate when alcohol was banned.

    “It’s probably the only reason I don’t go anymore,” he said.

    Berlin said the plan would promote school spirit and inclusiveness.

    “The key point is simply that we would like to have tailgates on campus that can include every single member of the community,” Berlin said. “Something that every student will want to go to.”

    Berlin said it would be ideal to number the tailgate spaces.

    “All organizations and groups that wish to sign up for a tailgate spot will be drawn and assigned a spot at random, directly mixing the various student organizations on campus,” Berlin said.

    Whether a spot will cost organizations any money has not been decided yet, Berlin said. That depends upon whether equipment such as tents and grills will be provided and set up by a third party or by students themselves, he said.

    Berlin said the plan would also allow those of age to drink alcoholic beverages within limits.

    Age limits would be enforced by verifying students’ IDs and assigning them a wristband when they enter the event, he said.

    “The wristband will have either tabs that are torn off or will be hole punched – something of that nature,” Berlin said. “Each student is only allowed the number of drinks that are on the wristband. All students who are not of age will receive either an “X” on their hands, or an extremely different colored wristband than those who are of legal drinking age.”

    Now, the representatives are trying to get feedback from university officials and students before submitting it for consideration, Berlin said. They have already gotten opinions from 40 people about the needs of the administration and students, he said.

    Todd Stuart, a 22-year-old senior history major, said his attendance at tailgates and football games was not been affected by the prohibition of alcohol and will not be affected by the possible reintroduction. He said allowing drinking at the tailgate will substantially increase other students’ attendance and safety by localizing alcohol consumption, though.

    Berlin said the representatives who are advocating the tailgate changes have conducted student focus groups to determine what students want out of a tailgate.

    The group has worked closely with the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Darron Turner, who said the tailgate plan will be submitted to Student Affairs for consideration after sufficient input has been obtained.

    Turner said he is optimistic about the outcome of the plan and that the student representatives have been very receptive to compromise.

    “My hope is that student attendance will grow,” Turner said.

    Berlin said none of the plans are finalized yet, but he hopes the university will be able to conduct a pilot tailgate in the upcoming year.

    “It’s still at the very beginning stages,” Berlin said. “It is important that students know the university has been open to our ideas and we are having very pro-active discussions.”