With a new academic year comes a new Maryland football season. This year, that’s come with changes to Greek life gameday culture, and so far, they seem to be a success.
A perk of joining a sorority or fraternity on campus is gaining access to private tailgates in the fall. As a freshman, there’s not always a lot to do before football games, so being able to attend the events can be exciting.
“I think it’s fun because it brings together like all different people,” junior mechanical engineering student Kate Howe said. “It’s not just one sorority and one frat.”
The Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Association — two groups that oversee certain sororities and fraternities on campus — are in charge of these tailgates.
Traditionally, the tailgates were held near the President’s Lawn. This location created an issue, however, as many in Greek life live across campus from the lawn.
Dylan Patel, a junior computer science major and IFC’s vice president of external affairs, said this year the location changed to the Engineering Fields, which is much more convenient.
“Everyone’s like ‘Well, why would I go into that?’ It’s 30 minutes away,” Patel said about the old location.
Patel said one of the tailgate’s main purposes is to give students a place to have fun before games without causing disturbances to permanent community residents.
While the new location is closer to Greek housing, it’s a lot further from the stadium. This leads to a new issue of poor game attendance among those at the tailgates. The solution was to create another regulated option for students not going to the game, Patel said.
Patel worked with The Hall CP, a restaurant near the new tailgate spot, to set up a watch party with food and drink deals. The events are exclusively for Greek life students, like the tailgates.
Howe admitted she was nervous to attend the first watch party, and was unsure what the environment would be like. But she enjoyed herself, and said she would go again.
The location change has garnered a lot of positive feedback, and both the tailgate and watch party for the first game boasted impressive turnouts, Patel said. The second game’s tailgate was ultimately canceled due to rain. Patel said everyone was flexible and the whole process went much smoother compared to years past. “I think it’s what we needed,” Patel said. “I’m very happy with how things have been going so far.”
The new location comes with a changed schedule. There are only four planned tailgates this year, compared to last year when every home game had a tailgate. Three were planned for September and one is planned for November. Patel explained this was because of conflicts over homecoming week and parent’s weekend — both busy times with many other campus events going on.
Junior hearing and speech sciences major Diana DeRosa wishes there were more tailgates, but is glad they’ve had such fun events.
“It’s nice just being around everyone, being able to see everyone, especially before such a big college event like a game,” DeRosa said.