Less than a month before the centennial homecoming game, Missouri Students Association leaders are working to establish the presence of their new tailgating area, The EndZone.
With two home football games under its belt, the revamped tailgating project has not sold out for either game. MSA President Eric Woods said that tailgate spots for the centennial Homecoming game against Iowa State are already close to selling out.
“We are seeing a steady increase of interest,” Woods said. “The first game we had some people. The second game we had more people.”
Prior to the first MU home game, the doors to The EndZone opened at 7 a.m. for the 11 a.m. home game against Miami (Ohio). EndZone organizer Corey Jenkins said outside factors, like timing and weather, coupled with Labor Day weekend, might have had a negative impact on attendance for the tailgate.
“A variety of student organizations have been reserving spots,” Jenkins said. “I know those (attendance) numbers aren’t exactly at our goals for the year but I think that a variety of reasons have led to that.”
According to Woods, MU Law school groups were consistent participants in The Jungle, MSA’s previous student tailgate project. Law students participation in school-sponsored tailgating has carried over to The EndZone.
“At the tailgate, for the students I’ve talked to the reception has been overwhelmingly positive,” Jenkins said. “People are happy about the free food, and they’re haven’t been any incidents with the police. Hopefully the response will continue to grow.”
Other student groups, including ROTC and the Missouri Student Veterans Association, also reserved spaces for previous home games this season.
“It’s just people seeing it and people finding out about it and people knowing that they can reserve a space,” Woods said. “This is a program that’s going to grow, in my opinion. I wasn’t expecting a giant flash mob to appear, but we are making a lot of progress.”
Jenkins estimated that between 60 to 70 people attended The EndZone’s first tailgate, and between 70 to 80 tailgated in The Endzone prior to the second home game.
Tailagte spots can either be reserved online at The Endzone’s website or be taken on a first come first serve basis on game days. Woods said at this point in the season, more students are attending The EndZone than attended The Jungle last year.
“Everyone I’ve seen or spoken with (at either home game) seems to be having a good time,” Woods said. “They think it was a good idea. They haven’t found any of the rules to be to restrictive and they mostly just want more information.”
Stuff To Do at MU, a division of MSA, the Graduate Professional Council and the Department of Student Activities recently released a survey to the general public concerning student experiences within The EndZone. The 18-question survey evaluates whether or not students are enjoying the tailgate and asks for student input on what should be included.
According to the MSA/GPC website, the goal of the The Endzone is to celebrate the rich tradition of Missouri football. Of the 25 tailgating spaces available, 24 were used for the Miami game and 23 were in use before the Western Illinois game. At press time, 17 tailgate spots have already been reserved for the homecoming game.
“This is the kind of program that’s not going to be a huge hit over night,” Woods said. “It’s a word of mouth type of thing.”