The 158th Lehigh-Lafayette Rivalry game will be held at Lafayette College’s Fisher Stadium on Saturday. With an event this large comes cumbersome preparation that includes safety and weather precautions.
Saturday’s matchup will be the first time in four years that Lafayette hosts the game.
Andrew Foster, Lafayette’s senior associate athletic director for facilities and operations, said some safety precautions Lafayette has prepared for this event include a security team and an EMS team with ambulances on standby throughout the event.
Prior to game day each year, Foster said the Lehigh and Lafayette administrations and police departments meet to prepare for the event.
“We go over the logistics of the game and prepare for anything including routes the student buses will take, the tailgates and the different kinds of security details that we will have at the various locations,” Foster said.
Chis Mulvihill, Lehigh’s associate dean of students, said the athletic department and LUPD attend these meetings at Lafayette to coordinate when the team, band and cheerleaders will arrive, among other things.
Lehigh and Lafayette both share efforts to ensure this event runs smoothly. Mulvihill said he has not seen any serious safety concerns in his 23 years at Lehigh.
“In the past we had student behavioral concerns but those have been mostly reduced to a manageable level,” Mulvihill said.
Foster said this game is not a typical weekend for Lehigh or Lafayette, and it is not treated as such by the host university. Each school has unique traditions that they wish to see continue.
In addition to precautions made by both universities, students also take it upon themselves to try to stay safe.
“I’ve never been to Lafayette, so I’m a little concerned with how I don’t know my surroundings,” Danny Dilsheimer, ‘25, said. “I will also be surrounded by a lot of people I don’t know.”
At an event this large, Foster said it is important to think about access points and exit points.
“I will be staying alert at all times and creating an evacuation plan for myself in case anything happens,” Dilsheimer said. “I will also make sure to stay with my friends so I’m never alone. I’m going to make sure that I’m staying vigilant.”
Foster said some additional safety precautions will include EMS services, increased security by the stadium and tailgating areas, and not allowing re-entry into the stadium.
Foster said they prepare for issues between students with training on how to recognize issues when they arise and how to communicate with the students.
Another safety concern, weather, has affected Rivalry games in the past.
When Lafayette last hosted in 2018, Foster said there was a winter storm that forced the Lafayette facilities team to dig up the field before the game started.
While there is no exact way to predict risks, Foster said Lehigh and Lafayette operations and facilities teams will ensure a safe and comfortable environment at the game.
“The history and the tradition of this game is big,” Foster said. “We want to make sure we’re good from a security standpoint and EMS standpoint to handle that kind of volume. It’s making sure that we’re dotting our I’s and crossing our T’s and providing that safe environment as best as we can.”