An American tradition is about to become a new Fairfield tradition.

An official tailgate party for all students to barbecue and socialize before a major day for Stags sports will take place on Saturday, April 19 in the parking lot between Loyola and the Kelley Center.

FUSA and IRHA scheduled this event because Saturday is a huge day for Stags’ sports. Men’s baseball, currently in second place in the MAAC standings, will host a doubleheader against Rider on Alumni Field starting at noon.

Then, over on Lessing Field, the men’s lacrosse team plays against Loyola, an ECAC rival that enters the game nationally ranked 15th in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Assocation (USILA) coaches’ poll.

The regionally televised game between the Stags and the Greyhounds is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Students can bring their own food to barbecue on the grills provided and the parking lot will be completely void of cars, according to former FUSA president Hutch Williams ’08.

During his years as FUSA president, Williams has organized activities and scheduled events to promote school spirit and raise attendance at sporting events, but he said, “the tailgate is something that students have been asking for.”

Although there have been efforts to raise school spirit in the past with events such as “Fairfield Red Fridays,” Williams said Saturday’s tailgate is different.

“This event I think is different [because] it asks for and requires student involvement on an individual level. “Each student can have ownership by bringing their favorite food to the tailgate,” Williams said.

According to Williams, a tailgate such as the one scheduled on Saturday has never taken place before on campus.

“The feedback so far [from administration and students] seems very positive and people are excited,” he said. “I think Saturday is going to be a great time.” Festivities will begin at noon. WVOF will be playing music live from the Kelley Center parking lot all afternoon as students tailgate, according to Williams. He says that students can request songs and may even be able to join in the pre-game broadcast.

The Levee, inside and outside areas, will be reserved for 21 and over students, Williams said, and the drink specials are $2 and $3 bottles. The class of 2011 will be giving out free shirts.

Along with grills and grilling materials, a direct shuttle will make trips to Stop ‘ Shop so that students can get food for the tailgate.

The shuttles will leave from the traffic circle outside of Barone from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights. “The Great Tailgate ’08” is the name of the Facebook event created by Williams. Students looking for more information should join the event.

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