Trading tailgates for beer gardens
October 23, 2009
The Greek Homecoming tailgate, a longstanding tradition at the College of William and Mary, will see a lot of changes Saturday.
The new plan places sororities and fraternities in Stimons Throwing Events Area, popularly known as fraternity field, north of Harrison Avenue and northeast of the units. The Green Leafe Cafe is spearheading and sponsoring the tailgate and will give those over the age of 21 wristbands that allow them to enter a beer garden, within which they can purchase beer ranging in price from $2 to $5.
This new solution allows hosting all the Greeks together, Council for Fraternity Affairs Social Chair Ian Fenwick ’11 said.
In previous years, hundreds of student organizations have relied on a lottery to distribute the 10 tailgating spots on Harrison Avenue, behind the units.
“Whoever got a spot was lucky,” Vice President of Inter-Sorority Council Janet King ’10 said.
Last year, Greek organizations occupied three of those spaces. The remaining seven were left unfilled, as other groups did not attend. Other fraternities and sororities took up spots in front of William and Mary Hall, an area normally reserved for family and alumnae tailgates.
Concerned with issues of both space for families and underage drinking among fraternity and sorority members, the William and Mary Police Department said it would not allow a similar situation this year.
The CFA and ISC looked for many viable solutions to the problem, including a plan that would allow Greek organizations to buy tailgating spaces, but the Student Assembly and Athletics Department, which regulates the use of Harrison Avenue, were unwilling to assume the potential risks.
The CFA and ISC could not agree on a plan until a manager from the Green Leafe approached Associate Director of Student Activities Anne Arseneau ’89.
“We didn’t have to do that, but it was the only option for everyone,” CFA President David Cooper ’10 said.
ISC and CFA chairs, along with Green Leafe managers, discussed the new proposal extensively, Cooper said.
“There was a bit of frustration about the options available,” Cooper said. “But this was really the best option.”
The Greek executive boards met with fraternity and sorority chapter presidents to discuss the plan, which was then decided on — sorority presidents voted in favor of the Green Leafe’s proposal 10 to one and fraternity presidents approved it 12 to three.
“There are people who are very excited, and there are people who are very apprehensive,” ISC President Tildi Sharp ’10 said.
Despite the number of votes in favor of the new plan, some were hesitant to accept the Green Leafe’s bid.
“Nobody would have had it as their first option,” Fenwick said. “[Some saw it as] another way the school is trying to shut down a fun time … they saw it as the only option.”
To ensure participation, those who voted in favor of the plan must attend the event, or risk a $200 fine.
Originally, food was planned to be catered exclusively by the Green Leafe. After discussion with ISC and CFA members, attendees will be permitted to bring sealed, non-alcoholic drinks, food and grills.
As the event is being hosted by a third-party organization, fraternity and sorority members, even if they are over 21, cannot bring their own alcohol.
Even with the Green Leafe taking precautions to prevent underage drinking, it still is a concern for some.
“If they’re not drinking in public, they’re drinking in their dorms,” Fenwick said, calling this option “dangerous.”
The Greek tailgate starts at 10 a.m. and lasts until 4 p.m., and although the event is targeted at members of fraternities or sororities, all students and alumni may attend.
“Most people are excited to see how things work out … in a safe, controlled environment,” King said.