Evanston prepares for Homecoming, ‘College GameDay’ crowds


Sarah Nelson/Daily Senior Staffer

Police report an ordinary weekend despite large crowds for the Homecoming game Saturday. They increased their patrol in preparation for the sold-out event.

Cat Zakrzewski, Web Editor

As Northwestern gears up for Homecoming weekend, Evanston officials are optimistic they have the best-laid plans to deal with large crowds and off-campus partying.

The city expects thousands of visitors for the festivities, which start early Friday morning when ESPN radio show “Mike & Mike” broadcasts from Deering Meadow. On Saturday morning, ESPN college football preview show “College GameDay” will take over the Lakefill before NU plays Ohio State in a nationally televised matchup later that night at Ryan Field.

Ald. Jane Grover (7th) said four police forces — University Police, the Evanston Police Department, the Wilmette Police Department and Illinois State Police — will be on patrol throughout the weekend.

“Every detail and every minute is planned,” Grover said. “As the week has unfolded, it seems to be going really well.”

During Wildcat Welcome, some Evanston residents complained about more off-campus partying than usual. However, Grover said the number of citations issued to students has decreased overall, and she hopes it will stay that way this weekend.

“They have in some ways set the reset button,” Grover said. “With all the events going on, I hope students have a good weekend in a way that allow all residents to have a good weekend.”

John Walsh, president of the Central Street Neighbors Association, said most neighbors are excited about the NU football team’s success and are looking forward to the weekend.

“It’s not something to panic over,” he said. “Northwestern has had sold-out games before.”

He said he has no illusions about game-day revelry in the Central Street area, which includes Ryan Field and off-campus neighborhoods northwest of campus.

“Students will party,” Walsh said. “It’s fine as long as they invite the neighbors over. That’s really the key.”

In an advisory Thursday morning, EPD said football fans should expect a larger presence than usual and that authorities will take any “problematic activity” seriously. Any violation of disorderly conduct, public urination or having an open container in public will lead to an arrest and $120 cash bond, according to EPD. The same rule applies for underage drinking.

The University has reminded students on the off-campus email list to “take responsibility” at their residences this weekend.

“Take care of Yourself, take care of Each Other, and take care of this place called Northwestern!” the email said.

Tony Kirchmeier, NU director of off-campus life, said his office visited some student residences Thursday night at the request of landlords to remind them to celebrate appropriately.

“We just wanted to remind folks of their rights and responsibilities off campus,” Kirchmeier said.

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Twitter: @Cat_Zakrzewski