The office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and Greek Senate cosponsored the inaugural tailgate on Nov. 9 during Family Weekend and First Responders’ Appreciation Day. To support First Responders, Greek Senate designed 100 shirts and will donate $500 from its proceeds to the Long Branch Fire Department.
Approximately 40 students in Greek Organizations attended the tailgate in parking lots 13, 14, and 15 outside of Kessler Stadium. For the first time ever, Greek Senate has organized this tailgate to invite potential new members, families, and anyone interested in learning more about Fraternity and Sorority social involvement on campus.
Chris Curran, the Vice President of Greek Senate, said, “Our goal was to spread Greek unity and show families that we do more than just party. [Greek Members] support Monmouth, sports teams, and stay involved in clubs and other organizations around campus so we wanted to showcase that inclusiveness during our tailgate.”
Andrea Jomides, the mother of a sister in Phi Sigma Sigma, said, “[She] felt included and a part of the campus community. (The tailgate) allowed me to enjoy time with my daughter, meet her sorority and contribute to school spirit. Participation increases our connection and the tailgate did that for me!”
The Panhellenic organizations to attend the tailgate were Phi Sigma Sigma, Delta Phi Epsilon, Alpha Sigma Tau, Alpha Xi Delta. The Fraternities who attended were Sigma Pi, Phi Kappa Psi, and Sigma Tau Gamma. The Multicultural Groups to partake were Chi Upsilon Sigma, Omega Psi Phi, Alpha Kappa Alpha, and Lambda Theta Alpha.
Angela White, Treasurer on the Greek Senate Executive Board, said the purpose of planning the Fraternity and Sorority Life Tailgate is to promote community. White said, “I think the FSL tailgate succeeded because the community came together to participate in a fun and safe event. I feel that Monmouth can sometimes lack school spirit, so it was great to see the involvement of all different clubs and organizations, as well as parents. The t-shirts were a great addition, and all students and parents loved them.”
Each Greek organization created a promotional flyer to be distributed during the tailgate. Each flyer included specific social media information, national philanthropies, chapter photos, and other unique facts like chapter dues.
Yazmin Belhadj, President of the Student Government Association and Delta Phi Epsilon, said that, “There has definitely been a divide between all organizations on campus. Monmouth lacks a sense of community. Although everyone finds their people in certain clubs and orgs, they stay within their cliques instead of branching out and being one whole Monmouth community.”
Kristine Simoes, Specialist Professor of Public Relations in the Department of Communication, offers insight on the image that a tailgate serves from a public relations standpoint. Simoes said, “This tailgate seems to surround community. It involves residents and the public it serves, so the parking lot is probably a good place to start. You have campus students and then you also have visitors, alumni, and a game day so you also have players families, this could all outreach to non-targeted publics.”
According to the Greek Senate Executive Board, they were successful in achieving their goals in planning a Fraternity and Sorority Life Tailgate. These accomplishments include: good behavior amongst Greek members, increased awareness for First Responders, and promoting unity. Due to the success of this tailgate, according to the Greek Senate Board, there will be many more opportunities for social involvement at Monmouth.
Belhadj expands on the idea that Greek involvement at events is crucial. “We should all have school spirit and get together to support one another. Whether it’s tailgating at an athletic game or cheering people on at a philanthropic event, we should all put our differences aside and see all the great things that each different organization has to offer.”
Mike Russo, a member of Sigma Pi brought his brother, a Senior at Howell High School, to the tailgate. Russo’s younger brother said, “Monmouth seemed like a really fun environment. I met people in a few fraternities that definitely made me interested in joining a Greek organization at college next year.”
Tyler Droste, Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, believes that the Greek students who attended the tailgate interacted well with the families that were present. He said, “[the tailgate] was a great opportunity for our fraternities and sororities to show the greater community how you can have a good time while also being responsible in the process.”
Droste continues, “The Greek Senate planned this event and it was the first time in a long time that a fraternal organization has planned a tailgate. It will be up to the students next year if they would like to continue the event but if they choose to do so our office will support them however we can. It is a great opportunity to show school spirit and hopefully this can open up new ways for fraternity and sorority life to interact with more of the campus community moving forward.”
PHOTO TAKEN by Deanna Morreale