Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Football: Hubert: Party school?

Seeger Gray / The Daily Northwestern
Fans tailgate outside of Ryan Field before Northwestern’s game against Minnesota Saturday.

Clear skies, full(ish) stands, can’t lose. 

Even before the ‘Cats captured their first Big Ten victory of the season, there was an air of hope in the backyards, alleyways and frat homes of Northwestern on Saturday. The flagship university of a historically dry town seemed to turn a new leaf.

As dedicated to my craft as I am, I spent my precious time before Northwestern’s home game against Minnesota attending as many darties (day parties, of course) as possible. My goal? Get a sense of how my fellow ‘Cats were rallying for one of the most embattled teams nationwide.

A few “SkeeYee”s and “Mo Bamba”s later, I think I’ve come to a conclusion — we’re back.

Purple and white pandemonium gripped the streets of Hamlin, Foster and Gaffield in something like a second Dillo Day. “What’s the move?” became “when’s the move?” as almost every fraternity (okay, we have about eight active Interfraternity Council chapters) and a share of clubs — allegedly even The Daily — hosted their pre-games. 

Did it matter that one darty-goer I spoke to didn’t know who the Wildcats were playing today? Jury’s still out, but she told me she would still, “of course,” be at the game. And I have no doubt in my mind that she was part of the at-one-point-overflowing student section (three sections worth!). 

There are a lot of variables at play here. We just finished the first week of classes, so there are no midterms lurking around the corner. Saturday’s game opened with the Wildcat Dash, a tradition where freshmen are strongly encouraged to collectively run across the field. A night game means more time to get in party mode. And arguably most importantly, a 1-2 record (before Saturday’s victory) is an energizing force compared to 1-11 last year.

Sure, shut me down with clips of Wisconsin’s crowd during “Jump Around” or photos of the hour-long lines outside of Illinois’ bars during Welcome Week. But to see hundreds of students rally together on game day for NU football given this summer’s events left me in awe.

No, I am not being paid by Wildside (our official student section), nor by any alumni (although my contact information is linked below). And, as the sister of a recent University of Georgia graduate and the daughter of Louisiana State and Arizona State alums, I really do know what a party school looks like. 

Still, in our 9,000-strong undergraduate body, living in a suburban setting with no dedicated college bar, I see a hunger for camaraderie.

Ask any student what brought them here, and, nine times out of ten it’s the school’s marketing of a top ten institution with the fun of a Big Ten school. But what they really find on the campus maybe-not-so “just outside of Chicago” is a party culture only accessible to those with the funds to pay for $40 Uber rides to and from the city. 

What I saw on Saturday was a welcome change.

We are no Michigan, nor Georgia, nor Colorado, but there’s something special brewing in Evanston. With a little leniency from our professors and another conference win from our football team, we can continue to work towards making Dillo Day every day.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @elenahubert25

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