BY RYAN CONKLIN
Throughout the country, college students enjoy social traditions that highlight the spirit and pride they have for their schools.
Whether they be festivals on campus, fairs with numerous activities, or even sporting events, students come together to celebrate all the things that make their school special to them.
In this regard, one of the ways Sacred Heart University facilitates social gatherings is with tailgates prior to home football games.
“It’s not just about the game, it’s so much more,” said sophomore Erin Sweeney. “From hours before the game begins, students gather in the parking lot to celebrate their SHU pride.”
For the past few years, students have migrated to the open field in the back of Sacred Heart’s campus for tailgating and other activities before the home football games.
“Students are decked out in apparel from head to toe, cornhole competitions stretch parking lot wide, and nothing but good music and smiles can be heard or seen,” said Sweeney. “SHU is not just a school, it’s a family and there is no better showing of this bond than tailgate season.”
However, Sacred Heart has recently implemented new rules and restrictions on tailgating.
Students have had mixed feelings about these new rules, due to the specific restrictions the University has set in place.
These rules, such as, a limit of 15 people per tailgating car, a ban on glass bottles and a restriction on overly loud music, have been received in varying ways by students.
Some students expressed that they like going to tailgates, because of the amount of excitement and pride that is shown for the university.
“School officials becoming more restrictive at tailgates interferes with the excitement and the fun of attending a home football game,” said junior Anne Reboa. “Students are very passionate when it comes to things that involve their social life.
Due to these new restrictions, some students feel like they are being suspected of acting a certain way before anything even occurs.
“Not everybody is there to cause trouble, we are just here to show school spirit and support the football team,” says sophomore John Santiago. “The whole idea of fifteen people per car is crazy in my opinion, and if they are going to have tailgates like this what is even the point of having them anymore.”
Some students even look forward to tailgates, because they know that they will get to see friends and classmates that they will normally not get to see on a regular basis.
“The first few tailgates during the fall of 2015 were the first signs of school spirit to me personally, and as word got out they became a lot more popular and many more students started to show their faces,” said Joseph DiCostanzo. “Now, it’s unfortunate and disappointing to me to see a crack down on what we are allowed to do and not allowed to do at tailgates.”
Although, some students understand that these new rules were set in place to keep students safe during these big events on campus.
“I think that these new rules will benefit the students because it will keep everyone safer,” said senior Marissa Gallante. “It’s just a way for the university to ensure that no one will get hurt.”
While the tailgates will not be prohibited, these new rules will stay in place as of now.
“I was excited to come into my senior year so I could experience the spirit of the tailgates for the football team,” said senior Ryan Cannata. “It is disappointing to see that they will not be what they once were and I think this has a lot to do with the tailgate being held in a much smaller area.”