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Tailgating together once again

By Natalie Kouba & Tom Kozlowski
Editor-in-Chief & Managing Editor

In a campus-wide email sent out on Friday, Oct. 3, the College announced the return of a united Homecoming tailgate, rousing renewed excitement from the general student body and alumni alike, thanks to a proposal brought to the Homecoming Committee by Student Government President Matt Wells and Inter-Greek Council President Robbie Nunes.

The two student leaders developed a proposal over the past few weeks and presented it before the committee on Thursday, Oct. 2, ultimately resulting in a successful compromise.

“We (the Homecoming Committee) were very impressed with their proposal,” said John Donohue, vice president for College Advancement. “Their proposal was comprehensive in nature, demonstrated unanimous support from their constituent groups, assumed responsibility and accountability for compliance with the adopted rules and provided a viable thoughtful alternative to the tailgating plan that had been adopted.”

Last year was the first Homecoming tailgate to see significant changes. The College implemented the use of colored wristbands to better control and recognize underage drinking at the tailgate in the hopes of providing a safer environment for all attendees. This year’s tailgate will see much of the same, as well: wristbands, increased security and one united Homecoming tailgate.

“The plan that will be implemented includes both increasing security and improving the process for wristbanding everyone entering the tailgating area,” Donohue said. “The additional security will enable us to manage the tailgating entry points more efficiently as well as ensure the safety and well-being of our guests.”

The Homecoming tailgate was allocated an estimated $2,000 in funding from the Student Finance Board in order to finance the increase in security, according to Donohue. The funds will also keep the FIPG alcohol regulations in place as originally planned.

While underage drinking remains a key concern at the tailgate, the Homecoming Committee made these changes with the understanding that more student groups would be taking responsibility to be safe.

“These student leaders presented the full Homecoming Committee with a formal proposal that had buy-in from the Greek and Club Sport communities, which include more than 50 organizations, 2,000 undergraduates and countless alumni,” the email announced.

That said, the administration is watching the responsibilities of student groups with a careful eye.

“As agreed to in the proposal, we expect Student Government, the fraternities and sororities and the members of the club sports to be partners in helping to control underage drinking,” said David Muha, vice president of Communications, Marketing and Brand Management.

Student leaders and organizations responded with overwhelming positivity to the compromise. Nunes, one of the key players advocating a revised Homecoming proposal, represented the Inter-Greek Council’s interest in reconciling the tailgate lots.

“(Homecoming) is extremely important for the Inter-Greek Council,” Nunes said. “The administration did an excellent job compromising with the students, and they worked with us in establishing self-governance. We are very excited for the new tailgating rules — we feel it is the safest alternative and the one that will provide the greatest experience for both undergraduates and alumni.”

He also sees benefits to a united tailgate beyond building a community — namely, in networking opportunities for students.

“Homecoming is the largest networking event of the year, and it would be a shame to prohibit TCNJ’s many student organizations from engaging with the alumni (from) those organizations,” Nunes said. “As a business major who is always being told how important networking is, I am really excited that we were able to find a compromise and have one tailgate.”

Students, however, will be the ultimate consensus judging the newest Homecoming changes. Some remain skeptical while others rejoice, but safety and responsibility, above all, haven’t been lost on the student body.

“I wouldn’t say the new rules are a full compromise,” senior English and secondary education double major Gabe Belthoff said. “Although it is a step in the right direction to benefit the students, it seems as though students are still being limited compared to the tailgates we enjoyed in the past.”

Still, Belthoff believes that Homecoming 2014 “will be a great event for all those who are attending,” and that the tailgate compromise will give the College a chance “(to) prove that we can have fun and be responsible at the same time.”


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