As the cracks of carbonation and the fervent odor of fresh beer filled the Ferguson parking lot on Saturday Oct. 2, an estimated 100 Albion students, faculty, parents, and alumni huddled together for a common cause – to tailgate.
“The primary reason for re-instituting tailgating is to provide a location and atmosphere for our alumni, parents, and friends prior to football games,” said Josh Merchant, vice president of Institutional Advancement. According to Merchant, people have responded with positive feedback, while offering thankfulness to the Board of Trustees for approving a policy that allows responsible adults to convene before the games.
“That’s why we’re here, hah,” said Bill Bringham, class of ’75, as an array of students and alumni packed the lot displaying mutual excitement and celebration. The site flaunted a new era for Albion social and athletic life, bringing back some old with the new.
“It brings more people out, why not (bring the policy back),” Bringham said.
According to the guidelines stated on the college website, all tailgating before games must only occur on the Ferguson parking lot. Alcoholic beverages are limited to single serving non-glass containers, and no open beverages can be taken outside of the tailgating area.
“So far we have had very few problems,” said Kenneth Snyder, director of campus safety. “We did talk to a few students this past Saturday who walked into (or) out of the tailgate area with alcohol. We need to make sure that doesn’t become more frequent, as those folks could be cited by the police,”
For many, it was their first tailgate at Albion College. Even as some Alumni recanted past experiences of tailgating on the railroad tracks, for current students, this was a new and electrifying experience and privilege that they promised to cherish.
“I like it…I feel like they are finally giving students freedom – just the fact that we are able to drink openly,” said Brenna Phelan, Roseville senior.
Albion students understand this new policy is a privilege and a freedom, involving a collaborative effort on the administration’s front as well as the students.
“I think it will encourage more responsible drinking…you realize professors, parents, and others will see your behavior…people are going to be watching you,” said Pat McCombs, Brook Park, Ohio senior.
Moreover, the correlation between both public and responsible drinking seemed to be a common theme among students and faculty, as many not only commented on the matter, but all demonstrated responsible drinking behavior, leading to very few incidents.
Yet despite these few problems, the overall atmosphere was one overflowing with nostalgia and Briton pride.
“It’s awesome…I think tailgating promotes more school spirit,” said Shelley Zamler, Beverly Hills senior.
Not only was the tailgating arena filled with people, excitement, nostalgia, and school spirit, it was filled with food. In fact, when Bobby Eddy, campus safety officer, was asked whether he had encountered any problems, he recounted “No, not much, we usually just get free food.”
The question remains however, as to why the policy was re-instituted this year in the first place?
Furthermore, it is evident that the new policy has worked so far, as to promote camaraderie and class amongst the students, faculty, parents, and staff at Albion College, in the social and athletic arenas.
“It feels good to be back, and I am glad to see my school growing together as a community,” said Valant Jaddou, class of ‘10.
Although the Britons did not win the football game, the soccer team tallied a victory, and ultimately tailgating enthusiast as a whole feels they have succeeded – in establishing a vital tradition and family – one that fans hopes will never be taken away…again.
“While the college welcomes everyone to tailgate and have a good time before and after the game, we also want those who do tailgate to actually attend the game and support the Brits,” Snyder said. “That’s what tailgating should be about.”
– The new tailgating policy can be found at