ASG finalizes campuswide tailgate plan

Janette Neuwahl and Janette Neuwahl

With just days before the first home football game of the academic year, Associated Student Government finalized plans this weekend for campuswide tailgates, which this year will be open students under 21.

Hoping to attract more students to football games, this season’s pregame parties will feature free food and entertainment from Northwestern student groups and various bands, as well as free beer for those over 21.

WildCARDs will not be required for admittance to the tailgates.

Although students at Saturday’s game against Ohio State University will allow underage students to attend the tailgates, only students of drinking age can enter the beer garden where free Anheuser-Busch beer is being served.

“Last year, tailgates were a 21-and-over thing, which really limited the people coming since it was just alcohol (being served),” said Joel Richlin, ASG campus relations chairman. “This year there will be a beer garden, but that’s one little section of a giant party where the focus is not just beer, but free food and free concerts.”

The event, the first of four tailgates in 2002, will be held from 4 to 6 p.m Satuday in the southeast corner of the Ryan Field parking lot.

Officials at the event will have a list of students who are over 21, and students on the list must show a WildCARD in order to get into the beer garden, said Richlin, a Weinberg senior. Students cannot take the beer out of the designated area, he added.

The amount of beer students are allowed depends on the amount of time they spend at the tailgate, said Allison Taylor, a Weinberg senior who helped Richlin this summer with the planning.

Students over 21 will be allowed three beers, but that number will be lowered to two for those arriving after 5 p.m., Richlin said.

“We want people to drink responsibly and not be drinking too much in a short amount of time,” she said. “So the longer you’re there, the more you’ll get.”

Last year wet tailgates returned to campus after extensive lobbying from past ASG presidents Jordan Heinz and Adam Humann. But pregame parties in 2001 attracted on average only 200 students, Richlin said.

Working over the summer with administrators and ASG’s co-sponsor, Northwestern Class Alliance, Richlin said he made plans to revamp the tailgates, making them events open to all NU students — not just those old enough to drink.

At the first two events, the Lady Cats, Brian and Eddie Orchestra and campus band Buddha’s Belly will entertain students and alumni while they dine on food donated by Norris University Center catering, Richlin said.

“Everyone from the top of administration to the bottom has bent over backwards to make this happen,” Richlin said. “From the athletics department, to student affairs, to Norris, to the campus activities office and dining services — they’ve all gone really out of their way to help with this.”

Since ASG tailgates will be open to all students, Richlin said he is hoping fraternities will attend them. In the past fraternities have held their own tailgates to recruit freshmen for Winter Rush, but with the new open tailgates they can meet underclassmen at a campuswide event, Richlin said. Interfraternity Council President James Troupis said no plan has been finalized yet.

Diana Gutierrez, a Communication senior who attended two tailgates last year, said she thinks this year’s tailgates will be even better because they allow younger students to join the festivities.

“Some of my friends aren’t 21, so it will give them the opportunity to hang out before the game legally,” she said.

ASG is hoping the tailgates will revive school spirit, regardless of the football team’s record.

“A lot of students say. … Northwestern is lacking … traditions and big campuswide events that alumni will come back to,” Richlin said. “This is the perfect opportunity to make a student tradition, and I just want (the tailgates) to get bigger.”