Clad head-to-toe in maize and blue, many students consider tailgating the best part of football Saturdays.
Now, for the second time, the Central Student Government is working with the University’s Athletic Department and the Division of Student Affairs to host its own tailgate before this year’s game against The University of Notre Dame.
This year’s event will be held at Elbel Field, and will be modeled after the 2011 Notre Dame tailgate, featuring free food and drink, entertainment and giveaways.
Business Senior Michael Proppe, president of CSG, said they are looking forward to contribute to the gameday experience.
“(The 2011 tailgate) was very successful on the day of the game,” Proppe said. “(With kickoff at) 8 p.m. again, it’s a long day so it’s important for students to have that safe and alcohol-free atmosphere during the day.”
According to Proppe, about 8,000 students attended over the course of the day.
Although a budget for this year’s tailgate is still in the works, in 2011, the event cost a total of $30,000, with CSG chipping in $3,000.
Proppe said a significant portion of CSG’s contribution went to advertising, and most likely will follow that same trend this year.
The costs are expected to be down significantly from the 2011 budget, partly due to the fact that this year’s event will be shorter.
“It was very well-attended but most of that attendance was very late in the day as students were moving toward the football stadium, so we’re probably going to shorten the hours,” Proppe said. “It’s not going to be an all-day thing like it was in 2011.”
He added that CSG has to consider Michigan Stadium’s general seating policy that will be instated for the first time this fall season. In the absence of assigned seating, students and administrators anticipate that the policy will mean students will arrive at games earlier than they have in the past in order to claim prime seats.
Proppe said CSG must make provisions for the policy when planning the times for the tailgate.
Giving students an alternative to exorbitant amounts of drinking before football games is a major motivation for planning the tailgate, he said. During the 2011 Notre Dame game, fewer students were taken to the hospital for alcohol-related issues than any other game that season, a fact he attributes in large part to the University’s Stay in the Blue Campaign — the University of Michigan Health System’s alcohol awareness campaign — as well as the CSG tailgate.
While the tailgate may not necessarily serve as a substitute for other events where alcohol is being served, Proppe said he believes it will help to minimize alcohol-related incidents. He said even students who have been drinking can benefit as it will provide the opportunity for food and hydration.