Tailgate Party kicks off first home game
Haljit Basuljevic — Contributor
SCSU’s Blue Crew brought students together in a celebration of campus spirit by hosting a football tailgate on Thursday, Sept. 5, as a prelude to the home game.
Students were offered a variety of engaging activities and an opportunity to get together to hang out on Jess Dow Field before the main event kicked off. Cornhole, ladder ball and miniature basketball hoops were set up, along with a firetruck parked next to the curb sporting a brick oven on its side.
Andrew Marullo, Coordinator of Campus Recreation and Fitness and advisor of the Blue Crew, said organizing the Football Tailgate mainly rests mainly has the goal of encouraging students to become more involved with campus events and sparking school spirit.
“We collaborated with the Student Athlete Advisory Committee to kind of get the first home game. That’s why we got some food, games, free giveaways, shirts, stuff like that, kind of just to draw a crowd,” said Audrey Pancak, a Graduate Intern with the Dept. of Recreation and Fitness.
Marullo also said the Tailgate has been a recurring event for about three or four years. He said himself and other organizations intend for future tailgates to differ in the way the hosts “amp it up” by having a tailgate event before other sporting events as opposed to solely confining it to football.
“This fall, we’re going to be including a new thing called ‘Tailgate Tour’, which will happen at different athletics home games. Mini tailgates, so we can build up some support for those different sports,” said Marullo.
He said the tailgate will continue to be present before all football home games, but promotions for other events and games will come out soon. Throughout the years, he said the number of students attending tailgate events has been consistent, but modifying some key features in the future will hopefully compel more students to attend.
Pancak said that sports teams have asked to set up tailgate events before games they felt were most important. She added that although football has always been the grand spectacle most students always attend, the purpose of expanding tailgate is so that other sports teams on campus can be equally appreciated and supported.
Newcomers to the tailgate reacted positively, such as biochemistry major Mahmoud Hassan, a freshman, said he liked the event, saying that it “was lot of fun, [and there was a] lot of pizza.”
“I just like the whole community coming together – you know what I’m saying – everybody coming out and having fun,” said Hassan, who also said that he would definitely attend the forthcoming tailgates.
As the event started to die down and students drifted towards the stands, the almost endless line for the pizza finally came to an end.
Sal Ajro, owner of Fire Truck Pizza, said, although he initially cut off the line at a certain point, he had kept the shop open past the end time.
He said he was expecting 150 to 200 students to line up, the estimate was exceeded that evening. “I’m prepared for 200, 300 people,” said Ajro, who said that he enjoyed the event. “Everybody’s happy, right?”
Photo Credit: Izzy Manzo