Kylie Martin, Staff Writer - Student Life
Homecoming games were all in demand. Photo//Kylie Martin
Before this year’s first hockey game Friday night, a Homecoming tailgate hosted by the Office of Student Life was held at the University Center Patio. Over 200 people attended the tailgate for an evening of fantastic food, fun games, and free prizes to ramp up school spirit before the Homecoming hockey game.
After a quick sign-in, attendees were offered free “UM-Dearborn Homecoming 2022” t-shirts and raffle tickets for a chance to win any one of eight gifts: six gift baskets of UM-Dearborn swag, each funded by one of the university’s colleges or organizations, or two tickets to Saturday’s Homecoming football game in Ann Arbor.
The tailgate was packed with plenty of other things to do as well. First, attendees built their burgers, which were prepared by Picasso Restaurant Group with both halal and vegetarian options, and enjoyed their food at any one of the picnic tables circling the patio.
Afterwards, they sat and socialized on a Dearborn Block M blanket laid across the grass or played one of the many outdoor games set up around the patio: cornhole, ladder ball, and spike ball.
The tailgate also featured a short speech from Chancellor Grasso as he spoke about the success of the UM-Dearborn athletes. He finished the speech with a piece of pep for the upcoming Homecoming hockey game, saying, “Go blue, go Dearborn! Beat Grand Valley!”
Tyler Guenette, the Director of the Office of Student Life and Advisor for Wolverine Media Network, explained the decision to host a tailgate before the Homecoming hockey game in particular: “In picking one specific game to host a big event, we hope to ‘hype up’ the energy surrounding the athletic events to come.”
As Guenette drew winners for the raffle later in the evening, he announced a promise of “consolation prizes” as attendees walked over to the Fieldhouse for the start of the hockey game: maize and blue pom-poms and foam fingers to cheer on our Wolverine players as they skate around the rink.
“One of our main goals [for the Homecoming tailgate] is to create this culture of engaging with one another before games,” said Guenette. “We hope to create connections among the students, as well as connections to campus and school pride.”
“The tailgate is to celebrate Homecoming week and give students the opportunity to engage with campus,” continued Aja Gore, the Coordinator of Fraternity & Sorority Life and Campus Traditions for the Office of Student Life. “Coming back from COVID, we’ve had two successful tailgates, and we don’t see that changing anytime soon!”