The first football game of the season drew a large crowd of students to this year’s first student tailgate in a new location from last year.
A year ago student tailgate took place north of the DakotaDome, but was moved in mid-October of last year due to safety concerns. This year students were concerned about what tailgate would look like in the new location, directly south of the Sanford Coyote Sports Center.
Doug Wagner, director of programming and activities, said in an email that the university handed out 900 wristbands to those who were 21, but did not track anyone who was underage.
Jack O’Connor a senior kinesiology major said that while the new tailgate was well attended few students would make it to the game.
“Obviously we wish there was going to be more students here because only 50 percent of the people that are here won’t go to the game, so that’s unfortunate,” he said.
O’Connor said he thought selling alcohol inside the DakotaDome would increase attendance.
“Only the CoreTrust club serves alcohol,” he said. “If they served alcohol to all the students there would be so many people that would go to the game. I’m just being 100 percent honest. I know the SD Board of Regents approved alcohol to be sold at the game and USD opted out of that… but honestly, if you sold alcohol you would regain about 75 percent of the people that are here.”
Christian Pollema, a senior biology and communication studies double major said the new space felt awkward.
“To be honest I don’t really like it. I am a senior and I had three years at the old location and I was attached. But that being said, it’s not too bad,” he said.
Brianna Johnson, a senior nursing major said that she like how spacious the new location is.
“I like this one because I can move more freely. I am a senior so I am not used to the freshman lifestyle,” she said. “I really like this one because of the openness.”
Drew Kaitfors, a senior political science major said that he thought attendance grew as tailgate went on and students got more comfortable with the new space.
“The new location is not as great as the last location, but after 11:30 a.m. tailgate came back to its usual form,” he said. “I think people were just scared to go to tailgate, but it is the same as old tailgate except there aren’t people breaking everything.”
Kaitfors said that it was still a good atmosphere.
“It’s the same college experience that you want, it’s all your classmates there having a good time.”
O’Connor agreed that the overall experience doesn’t depend on location.
“I’m four years in and i’ve had a blast at every tailgate I’ve been to. The new location is a little weird but it is understandable, because they are building that new turf field,” he said. “It’s a little too spread out for us, but again us USD students will have fun wherever we are.”