Jungle tailgate sees highest attendance of semester

Reserving a spot at the tailgate was free for the first time Saturday.
Juniors Anna Neal and Alex Grousis-Henderson talk while tailgating Saturday at The Jungle.  The Jungle experienced its highest attendance of the semester over the weekend.

The Jungle tailgate had 24 spots filled by 19 student organizations and groups of students Saturday.

Ben Hansen, Missouri Students Association Department of Student Activities director and MSA presidential candidate, said this was the best-attended Jungle tailgate thus far.

For the first time, MSA allowed students to reserve tailgate spaces for free for Saturday's game. Previously, it cost $20 to reserve a spot. In addition to this change, individuals, regardless of whether they were affiliated with a student organization, were also allowed to reserve a space and vehicles were allowed in the tailgating area.

Aside from the policy changes, MSA increased its efforts to promote The Jungle in the weeks following the game against the University of Miami-Ohio and before Saturday’s tailgate.

“This is a promotional change mostly affecting the price,” MSA President Tim Noce said. “Everything will work the same way it did previously.”

Sixteen tailgating tents are available for use on a first come, first serve basis so students don’t have to bring their own. Students that reserved a tailgating spot received a VIP wristband, allowing them to check out games and sports equipment for use on Stankowski Field.

The Jungle Steering Committee was created by MSA leaders in conjunction with the MSA Campus and Community Relations Committee to better plan and publicize the tailgating area.

“We want to get students there to see how fun it is,” Noce said. “We are trying to dispel some of the myths.”

Last week, Steering Committee members talked about The Jungle at Residence Hall Council meetings, passed out flyers at the B.O.B. concert and held a mock tailgate in Speakers Circle, where they grilled hamburgers and handed out free T-shirts.

Committee Chairman Greg Loeffler said the increase in advertisement combined with free reserved spaces resulted in more students attending The Jungle than ever before.

“I think a lot of it was due to the fact that people knew the campaign,” Loeffler said. “We did a lot more than passing out flyers. We actually got on the ground and started talking to students.”

For the next two home games, the Steering Committee plans to continue promoting The Jungle in similar ways. Another mock tailgate is planned for this week and a T-shirt design is in the works to put on more free t-shirts. The committee will continue to attend Hall Council meetings and pass out flyers.

“We’re going to keep doing a lot of the same things because it obviously had an effect and we want to keep that going,” Loeffler said.

The Jungle organizers will make a decision on whether vehicles will be allowed for subsequent games, but all other changes will remain in effect, Hansen said. The Jungle will use the MSA budget to pay for the area and will possibly apply for MSA carry-over money.

Organizers of the Jungle remain optimistic that the tailgating area will be a success and rival such storied tailgates as those at The University of Mississippi and Louisiana State University.

“I think this is something students have wanted for a long time, and I hope we can get it off the ground,” Noce said.

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