The Jungle offers what students want

M-I-Z... Z-O-U was the call heard around the world last Saturday — or at least by everyone around Columbia and tuned in to ABC/ESPN. Last week, it was truly great to be a Mizzou Tiger. From the new Student Center dedication ceremony, to hosting ESPN GameDay, all that is Mizzou Homecoming and, of course, beating OU was nice too.

Like the majority of MU students, my awesome Saturday included tailgating. And in my opinion, all good football games are preceded by a tailgate. I would even argue that nothing is more essential to college football than tailgating, and so tailgate, we did. From what I heard, Lot X was comparable to Reactor. With lax underage drinking enforcement and the whole day to tailgate, why wouldn't it be?

About half way through this football season, I undertook a tailgating challenge called The Jungle. Have you heard of it? I'd venture to say that most MU students have heard it mentioned or perhaps seen a flyer in their dorm room mail slot. But here's the million dollar question: Do you know what it is? If you do, congrats, but I'd bet a lot of money that something you believe about The Jungle is wrong.

Well, here's the truth: Any student can reserve a spot, it's located in the metered lot on the corner of Rollins and Maryland Ave., there are only two police officers assigned to the lot, and yes, alcohol is allowed. So now you know the facts, but maybe you're still confused as to why this tailgate suddenly sprung up. Well, The Jungle is MSA's response to Rally for Reactor. To clarify for those unfamiliar with Reactor, it was a tailgating hotspot that got shut down. With obvious excessive underage drinking, crowd control problems and few tailgaters actually attending the football game, the University was not Reactor's biggest fan. Thus, Rally for Reactor, or more specifically, students demanding another tailgating spot, was born. A year later, we have The Jungle.

Disregarding The Jungle for a minute, I've been thinking about what it is that we love about tailgating. Is it the anticipation of the football game to come? Is it the brats and hamburgers? Or maybe shot-gunning that Natty Light? Well, it can't be the first, because I know quite a few people that tailgate despite caring less about football, and while my dad's brats are pretty dang good, that can't be why tailgating is so appealing either. As for Natty Light, well, who am I to condemn that drink of the gods? However, and it's strange I know, but not everyone loves beer, so we're still left pondering my original inquiry. Consider this your warning, as my next best guess is pretty cheesy. I would venture say that tailgating is really all about taking the time out of your day, your studies, your extracurriculars, or your sorority or fraternity in order to sit down with friends and family and relax. Maybe you play a game of ladder golf, maybe grilling is a de-stressor for you or heck, if grilling isn't your thing, that beer certainly will take the edge off. For lack of a better phrase, tailgating is all about stopping and smelling the grill.

The student government and many individuals, myself included, are working hard at starting up The Jungle. We are keeping in mind this is a tailgate for students though, and if it's not what the students want, then it's not worth our efforts to try and continue. My hopes are that tomorrow and over the next few weeks, my inbox will be flooded with emails from students letting me know what I can do for them, what they think, or anything at all relating to tailgating.

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