iPods, beer and football

Elise Franco

If you’re tired of spending money on expensive drinks and bar food downtown and are ready for a change of pace, the Student Athletic Advisory Board suggests checking out tonight’s tailgate.

“Students should come tailgating because they will be overwhelmed with exhilaration and excitement,” said Katie Hale, who holds a chair on the board.

Although Kent State has hosted student tailgating in the past, Hale said the advisory board, along with the athletic department and its director, Laing Kennedy, have been working hard to make it more appealing to students.

Hale and Kennedy both said this tailgate will be like nothing the university has ever seen before, complete with tents housing student organizations, fraternities and sororities.

“We really want to promote Tailgate Alley this year,” Kennedy said. “It’s going to be games, food and tent city.”

Students should arrive hungry. Hale said several businesses around Kent have donated food and pop.

“About 500 wings, pizza from Hungry Howie’s and tons of food from Ray’s Place will be free to students,” Hale said.

In addition to food and pop, beer will be sold to students 21 and older, Kennedy said.

“We want to make this a safe, enjoyable environment with food and Kent State football, and we want students to have a good time,” he said. “To do this, we will stop selling drinks inside the stadium at half-time and we plan to limit the number each person can buy.”

Besides free food, students can expect a mechanical bull, live music, iPod giveaways, plenty of free T-shirts and appearances by Flash and the Kent State cheerleaders, Hale said.

“This event will give freshmen a great opportunity to meet new people and get to know Kent State better,” she said. “And students will get to go out and have a good time while supporting our football team.

“Also, since it’s a Thursday night game, busses will take students downtown after.”

Tailgating for tonight’s game begins at 5 p.m. Tailgate Alley is located at the southwest corner of Dix Stadium, and parking will be limited, so Kennedy suggests coming early. General admission parking and shuttle services will be available along Summit Street, as well as the old Giant Eagle parking lot on state Route 59.

Hale said the athletic department’s and the Student Athletic Advisory Board’s main goal this year is to get more students involved on campus instead of at the bars.

“This is our first try,” Kennedy said. “Of course we will be evaluating and making necessary changes, and we’ll also be looking to students for help.”

Other planned events for this year include a Homecoming bonfire and concert, Culture Shock, FlashFest and many live concerts.

Any student who has suggestions about what they would like to see at the next event can contact Laing Kennedy at [email protected] or Katie Hale at [email protected].

Contact general assignment reporter Elise Franco at [email protected].