BY SOFIA CARRASCO
CAMPUS – Wayne Street was closed off last Saturday evening for a “Flock Party” put on by Salisbury University in an attempt to boost school spirit and attendance at the football games.
This was SU’s second chance at producing a tailgate-like atmosphere this fall, since canceling the tailgates in Avery Lot due to underage drinking and low attendance at sporting events. The Flock Party was intended to encourage students to still come together and support their school and football team.
But the turnout was anything but that.
Both ends of the street were blocked off by SU Police cars and multiple officers patrolled the entrances, essentially taking the “tailgate” part out of the tailgate. There was no outside food or drinks allowed and all bags were subject to search upon entering the stadium.
The Flock Party was advertised as having “lawn games, music, food trucks and beer” and was sent out through the student activities email. But upon arrival, only one food truck was present and for those over 21, they received a wristband that only permitted the purchase of two drinks.
Amelia Trotter, varsity softball player and senior at SU, was working the event as Sammy the Seagull’s helper. She is a part of the Fan Engagement Committee, which includes varsity athletes from all sports to try and bring people out to the games.
“I’m kinda disappointed with the amount of people that are here right now, but maybe people just don’t know about it as much,” Trotter said. “I’ve told everyone about the football game and to come to all the athletic events.”
Trotter admits that closing Wayne Street for the Flock Party was a trial run, but believes that it will bring more people to the games compared to when the tailgate was at Avery Lot.
Many students are under the impression that tailgates have been cancelled for the fall semester, and word-of-mouth about the Flock Party simply didn’t get around.
Leon Nguyen, junior, says he and his friends enjoyed the Flock Party and the new location was great, but believes the restriction on bringing your own beverages is what produced the low turnout.
“What if we wanted to bring our own water in?” Nguyen said. “We don’t want to pay for water and I don’t think the food trucks accept Dining Dollars.”
The restrictions and changes made to tailgating at SU completely morphed the core tradition of what tailgating is supposed to be.
While underage drinking is in no way condoned by the school, the strict rules about beverages and police presence deter many underage students from coming to the games.
Kirby Given, a graduate student, remembers what tailgates used to be like in Avery Lot and thinks that the new Flock Party was a serious downgrade.
“The tailgates [last year] were pretty dope. All the fraternities would have their trucks with coolers of beer and they would have flags on their trucks with ‘SU’ and their Greek letters.”
But, Given admitted that she only went to a football game once.
“They need some type of flow from Avery Lot to the football game,” Given said. “When you leave the tailgate they should have some sort of incentives like food or t-shirts.”
There is a planned tailgate for Oct. 13 for Alumni Homecoming and Family Weekend.
Salisbury will open Avery Lot and Wayne Street Lot from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for students and their families. Our SU football team will be facing off against Montclair State University at 1 p.m.
Detailed guidelines and rules for this tailgate can be found at: http://www.salisbury.edu/alumni/alumni-association/homecoming/tailgating.aspx