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With the annual Harvard-Yale football game approaching, House Committees have partnered with the Office of Student Life and the Undergraduate Council to organize upperclassman House neighborhood tailgates.
The pre-game events are modeled after this past spring semester’s pre-Yardfest block parties, and organizers say they hope to create larger and more welcoming gameday tailgates. Prior to this year, the tailgates were organized by each House.
According to Winthrop HoCo co-chair Matthew T. Disorbo ’17, the tailgates will take place on Nov. 19 on the tennis courts by Harvard Stadium, and will feature food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as prizes and giveaways.
Mather House Committee co-chair Trevor A. Mullin ’17 said the HoCos decided to join forces because of the potential for more efficient planning and higher student attendance. He also noted the collaboration more generally stems from a recent push to promote House life at the College.
“Your social experience at Harvard should be centered around House life," he said. "It’s something that affects us all and I strive to make positive contributions to that and know that the College has similar goals.”
Organizers also said they hope to provide an alternative to tailgates hosted by campus organizations, especially in light of ongoing discussions at the College about social spaces and the role of the final clubs in the College’s social scene.
“It’s nice to have a totally inclusive tailgate,” Disorbo said. “You have a ton of these final club tailgates and Greek life tailgates which I’m sure are fun, but a tailgate that someone can feel comfortable going to and knowing they’re always welcome at is really important.”
Madeleine H. Stern ’18, the UC’s Student Initiatives Committee chair, echoed Disorbo’s sentiments.
“We also want to ensure that while many other groups do their own thing, people that aren’t a part of those groups also have a place to go where they can have the same kind of tailgate ‘get excited’ experience,” she said.
Adams HoCo co-chair Cecilia Laguarda ’17 said she hopes the tailgates will help promote school spirit.
“What was weird with the individual House tailgates is that Harvard-Yale is this one day… to be really proud of being a Harvard student and so the fact that we always had these individual House tailgates seemed strange,” she said.
Laguarda also emphasized the financial benefits of combining tailgates by neighborhood.
“We’re hoping that the ability to pool three Houses’ budgets as well as hopefully additional funding from the UC and OSL, will give us more interesting and varied snack options,” she said.
HoCos are financing the tailgates through their own Harvard-Yale budgets, with support from OSL and the UC.
“The OSL is pleased to support the HoCos as they plan a fun tailgating experience for students,” Associate Dean of Students David R. Friedrich wrote in an email.
Stern said the UC gave the Houses a total of $5,000 for the tailgates in the hopes of promoting spirit across campus.
“We really wanted to celebrate the fact that is is one of the times on this campus that we can and should have a lot of school pride that goes beyond neighborhoods and Houses,” she said.
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