The University Program Council at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette hosted a “reverse tailgate” this past Saturday due to the homecoming game’s early start time.
Like other universities during this year’s homecoming season, game-time was earlier than expected. UL Lafayette’s homecoming game began at 11 a.m. This time change caused certain cancellations and adjustments to be made in the homecoming schedule, including UPC’s annual student tailgate.
The student tailgate started after the game at 2 p.m. and ended at 5 p.m.
According to Terence Toomer, Jr., UL Lafayette’s UPC spirit director, they decided to do the “reverse tailgate” after they saw LSU do it for their homecoming.
A reverse tailgate is when tailgating occurs after the game.
Terence also shared how he saw comments and messages on social media about how students wanted UL Lafayette to have a “reverse tailgate” after hearing the news of the game time moving up.
“We just wanted to go with the approach of what the students wanted,” Toomer said.
Terence shared how Student Government Association President Reed Broussard pitched the idea of allowing all students in the UL system to get into the homecoming game for free.
Setup for the student tailgate was from Friday, Oct. 29 at noon to Saturday, Oct. 30 at 7 a.m.
Students were allowed in the tailgate area during the game, however, they weren’t allowed to play music.
According to Toomer, he understood how the TV contracts worked with ESPN and the Sun Belt agreement from the university standpoint, so he was willing to change some of the plans made for homecoming. However, Toomer shared how some students weren’t too excited about the time change.
“The two to five time, they didn’t really like it too much. But it’s so many things that UPC does behind the scenes that students kind of don’t understand,” Toomer said.
UPC had to undergo some challenges to get everything approved and prepared for the event. Security arrangements were a main issue.
According to Toomer, they had to ensure that the police were able to stay long enough for the “reverse tailgate” to happen. They were also making sure that any additional fees that needed to be collected were in order.
All student organizations and students from UL Lafayette and other schools were encouraged to take part in the event.
Some students enjoyed the “reverse tailgate” and are looking forward to a possible repeat for next year.
“The reverse tailgate turned out really well because it allowed people to watch the game first then have their own time with their peers and family,” Aysa Clark, a UL Lafayette freshman nursing student, said. “I think it was a great experience since we had a homecoming blowout.”
“I think the tailgate was fun and I’d definitely do a festivity like that again,” Tyasia Richard, a UL Lafayette junior majoring in psychology, said.