A crowd of tailgaters jumped up and down on and in front of a stage, pumping their hands to music provided by student DJ Morgan Mok, ’17.
It was change in scenery from the usual Lehigh tailgates. Students created a singular mob near the stage instead of remaining in individual plots, which are usually registered by fraternities.
“I think at first, a lot of people were under the impression that tailgates were reserved for fraternities, but we planned something to bring the campus together,” said Sidney Ro, ’17, the president of University Productions music. “Dance Marathon is here, a couple of sports teams are here. We thought it would be a good idea to have the last tailgate of the year to be the whole campus together.”
Before Mok performed, UP brought in Paul Knakk, a local musician who plays numerous venues around Bethlehem, such as The Wooden Match and ArtsQuest.
“There needed to be some way to open up this tailgate, and everyone loves barbecue music,” said Isaac Wellish, ’17, UP’s production manager. “So other than having DJ music the whole time, we wanted to feature a local artist.”
Knakk had played at a small concert that UP hosted just two years prior. Looking for a fresh country flare, UP settled on Knakk to play at the tailgates to create a more relaxed atmosphere.
With new music and a new layout that aimed to foster inclusivity, more plots than ever were registered by tailgaters. Lehigh Hyperloop, Dance Marathon, sports teams and fraternities were all represented.
“I thought it was going amazing,” said Matt Rothberg, ’18, the Student Senate treasurer. “There were a lot more people than I’ve ever seen before at the tailgate.”
Jen Tomany, ’18, the executive director of Dance Marathon, said the club took advantage of the new tailgate policy to have the opportunity to fundraise for its upcoming event by selling chicken wings.
Not only were there more people and plots at the tailgate, the football game was the second-most attended game of the season, with 1,089 students in attendance.
“The tailgate got school spirit going,” Rothberg said.
Student opinions of whether the tailgate succeeded or not are crucial in moving forward with future tailgates.
Senate sent a survey to the Interfraternity Council to give to all Greek chapters, as well as other campus groups, about their opinions on the tailgate. The results of the survey will be factored into long-term decisions, like planning tailgates in the future.