Students flock to “The Barn,” university’s student-only tailgate spot
Delaware kicked off the football season with a brand new student-only tailgating area called “The Barn.” The facility includes music, dancing space, food, drinks and lawn games for students to enjoy.
There has been noise around campus for years about how tailgating was banned for students. This, however, was a common misconception, according to the Interim Dean of Students, Adam Cantley.
“Students have always been able to tailgate at Delaware Football games,” Cantley said. “I think that was a big cultural misconception that people couldn’t tailgate here.”
According to the Delaware Athletics Department, The Barn’s name stems from the university’s beginning as an agricultural school as well as its mascot. The new space is situated right in between the Bob Hannah baseball stadium and the football stadium. It opens four hours before the start of each game. All students can enter after scanning their student IDs. There is a bar area reserved for attendees 21 and up.
Gallery: Welcome to The Barn (Louis Mason/The Review)
The Barn can house up to 2,000 students and provides a place for Delaware students to come together as a unit to show their school spirit. Associate Athletic Director for Marketing and Engagement Hannah Sirdofsky said the athletics department is trying to collaborate to increase school spirit on campus and The Barn is an “initiative of that collaboration.”
“I think it’s going to be a great asset to the student body,” Sirdofsky said. “I’ve had a lot of students come up to me and say that ‘we want to come to games, but we don’t feel like there is anywhere for students to go,’ and the whole point of this space is that it’s completely student-centric, there’s no alums, no season ticket holders. College is about coming and meeting new people and building that sense of school spirit and establishing yourself here in the UD community, and this is one way to do that.”
For The Barn’s premiere on Thursday night’s home opener, a large crowd of 1,200 students funnelled in. It gave students their much desired area to tailgate and show off their Blue Hen pride.
“It feels really good because they are trying to make it more fan friendly here at Delaware Stadium,” senior Stephen MacDonald said. “So it feels good to finally have our own student section where we can have fun and hang out with our friends before games.”
The Barn is a big step in the direction of returning school spirit to Delaware Stadium and to the campus, while bringing students together in a way that has not been done before.
“This means that we are Blue Hens and we are a big team and family,” freshman Mia Kelly said.
The Barn is an effort from the Delaware Athletics Department to listen to both the fans and students alike. Students have asked for more incentives to attend football games among other sporting events and, with The Barn, the staff hopes they delivered.
This is only one of the many indications, including the Delaware First fundraising campaign, which will bring a $60 million renovation to Delaware Stadium this spring, and Delaware’s flashy new all-blue uniforms, that Delaware is revamping not only its play on the field, but students’ attitudes surrounding Blue Hen sports.
“It’s a really good community feel,” freshman Sarah Shapiro said. “There’s a lot of school spirit here.”