The beginning of Harding’s football season is upon us, and with it comes tailgating at Bison Park in front of the Ganus Activities’ Complex. Tailgating is one of the many ways students on campus can mingle with one another over food, fellowship and football. For returning students, tailgating is a return to their friends, social clubs and what is familiar. However, for freshmen and transfers, going to an unfamiliar setting with unknown people can seem intimidating. Tailgates are a great place to build relationships, and these new additions to the Harding University family are welcomed with open arms through their own festivities.
Harding’s program for freshmen and transfer students, First Year Experience (FYE), will host a tent with activities and free food available to all freshmen looking for a place to plug into during the tailgate. Harding’s ultimate frisbee team, HU Apocalypse will also be at the FYE tent to visit with freshmen as well. Assistant Director of First Year Experience and Students in Transition, Caitlin Denton, said that any freshman can come to a tailgate, regardless if they are pursuing membership in a social club or not.
“I think a lot of times, tailgating seems to be reserved just for clubs.” Denton said. “We want to use this as an opportunity for people who aren’t in clubs yet, and to get to experience a tailgate, and to feel like they have a place and to try and break them in to the whole atmosphere of Harding tailgating and Harding sports at home.”
Carter Bramlett, president of men’s social club TNT, said that going to a tailgate reflects the diverse student population of Harding and that tailgating is a great way to build a sense of community with peers.
“If you were to take a picture of the whole area where the tailgating is going on, I think it’d be really cool to show the representation that Harding kind of has to offer,” Bramlett said. “All these different groups of people [are] coming together supporting our school and having a good time.”
For freshmen or students who have never been to a tailgate, it may seem intimidating. However, Impact co-director, senior Luke Humphrey, who is also the senior male representative for the Student Association, invites those students to come and enjoy the festivities at Bison Park.
“I would love for every freshman to come to at least the first tailgate and see how neat of an experience it is,” Humphrey said. “I think once they see how coordinated and fun tailgates are, I think they’ll be itching to come back for more.”
The first tailgate will take place Sept. 14 in Bison Park prior to the Harding versus University of Arkansas-Monticello football gamae.