One of the most popular events on campus for students during the fall is Boston College football games. But the enjoyment of going to the game includes much more than just making an appearance in the student section of Alumni Stadium.
Tailgating and pre-gaming, for both current students and alumni, have become a cultural tradition for BC fans. Prior to the game, Eagle fans young and old scatter themselves throughout Lower and Brighton Campus to enjoy quality time with friends and loved ones to get ready for the game. Tailgating creates a space for fans to come together to celebrate Boston College as a whole, as well as the game. With tailgating, however, comes two major components: eating and, particularly, drinking.
This year, Boston College Athletics announced that it will start selling alcoholic beverages inside Alumni Stadium. This announcement came as a shock for many students, as it does not align with the often strict rules that BC administrators have toward drinking.
A BC EMS member said that this more casual look at drinking “makes [his] job harder.” Because BCPD is no longer required to have such a strict presence at tailgates, fans are more likely to drink and be irresponsible. This change makes it more difficult for BCPD, as well as BC EMS to respond to calls.
Besides running into a few mishaps the past couple games, and running out of alcohol, what does this really mean for the Boston College football culture? Does this change the community feel of tailgating on Lower Campus?
According to A.J. Black, a writer for SBNation Boston College Interruption, the “open air tailgating” that has traditionally been BC’s style of tailgating will be lost as major changes in pre-game traditions take effect.
Every year, Boston College offers tailgate spots to alumni and family, particularly on Lower Campus and Shea Field. However, due to construction near Shea Field, there are a limited number of spots for people to tailgate there, which became a huge problem for BC football revenue. To combat the loss of income, BC opened up more tailgate spots on Brighton Campus. This has separated many tailgaters and dissolves the purpose of having a common space for all BC fans to congregate before kickoff.
In addition to the very expensive spots on Brighton Campus, the new alcohol sales inside of the stadium are an attempt to fill some of the lost revenue from the old Shea Field tailgate spots. These seemingly simple changes, however, are the result of a larger underlying cause.
The new and expanded tailgate spots, which will no longer create a concentrated area of pregame activities—in addition to adding alcohol sales inside the stadium—are just more ways to boost the revenue of Boston College during football season. However, this could be a dangerous decision, because with the more relaxed rules of drinking at tailgates and the games, there is a greater chance of irresponsibility and dangerous alcohol consumption among fans.