Class of 2016 Welcome Tailgate
New students display school spirit and experience tailgating tradition
1:18 p.m., Sept. 18, 2012--A steady crowd of University of Delaware students flowed toward the white-tented area in front of Delaware Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 15. Based on the students’ attire -- head to toe blue and gold with beads and face paint -- it would have been easy to assume that these were experienced tailgaters. However, these students were actually the newest Blue Hens.
More than 600 freshmen registered to attend the Class of 2016 Welcome Tailgate. The event, in its first year, gave new students an opportunity to meet other freshmen and become a part of the UD tailgating tradition.
Beyond trail mix
Students were greeted with the official Class of 2016 banner they had signed earlier this year and also got to pick up the official Cockpit T-shirt.
As a DJ pumped dance music, students grabbed slices of pizza from the mountain of Grotto boxes and selected from a variety of Pepsi refreshments.
“It’s a lot of fun and a lot of activities for us to do since we’re freshmen,” said new student Kara Trumbule. “And of course, free food.”
Students said they were delighted to be provided with plenty of free entertainment. Freshmen formed lines to experience the inflatable bouncy house and an inflatable “gladiator ring.”
“I didn’t know there would be so much free stuff here. The gladiator bouncy house is really cool,” said Tyler Heiss.
Matthew Conrad and Caitlin O’Connor enjoyed jousting each other in the gladiator ring and were also enthralled with the official Class of 2016 Cockpit T-shirts, which were exclusively provided at the tailgate.
“It’s really cool to have ‘Class of 2016’ on the shirts and they are really nice,” said O’Connor.
The tailgate lasted from 1-3 p.m., giving students a safe place to have fun before the football game against Bucknell University. Activities included baseball and football throwing stations, prize giveaways and a very busy caricature artist.
In addition to students, parents and family were also invited to attend the Class of 2016 tailgate. UD parents Aaron and Cherie Krause were enjoying the beautiful weather at the tailgate and were excited to attend the game.
“It’s very welcoming,” said Cherie Krause. “It’s absolutely a safe environment, a good time to meet other freshmen and the advertising for the event was great.”
The tailgate was a collaboration sponsored by Student Wellness and Health Promotion, Athletics, Alumni Relations, Office of the Dean of Students, University of Delaware Alumni Association, First Year Experience and the Office of Communications and Marketing.
Nancy Chase, director of Student Wellness and Health Promotion, was impressed by the enthusiasm of the students.
“The most impressive thing about this class is the spirit. They already have the spirit, we’re just giving them a place to show it,” she said.
Chase said the tailgate provided students with a safe place to get involved with the tailgating tradition. “We hoped to give them a place where they could experience the atmosphere and get involved in the football experience without drinking. We hope they keep looking for events like this.”
Article by Kelley Bregenzer
Photos by Mark Campbell