Officials ready tailgating areas for alumni, visitors

Caitlin Carter

Next week, more than 20,000 alumni will be in Bowling Green to take part in more than 100 WKU Homecoming festivities.

In preparation for the game against North Texas, many alumni will join current students in tailgating, said Ginny Hensley, director of alumni programming for the WKU Alumni Association.


For alumni alone, more than 45 tents will be set up for tailgating purposes through the Festival of Friends program, Hensley said.

Festival of Friends allows alumni to reunite with old classmates, she said. There will be tents representing colleges, departments, student organizations and alumni groups.

“Anyone who was in a Greek or departmental organization during their day typically go to those tents,” Hensley said. “But there are also tents with food that are offered to any alum that has come back.”

This year, a band will perform at Guthrie Bell Tower, Hensley said.

She said the idea is to make the mood of Homecoming more festive for all.

“Alumni come back to see friends and relive when they were students,” she said. “Our job is to have things for them to do, but they come back anyway for the wonderful tradition.”

But alumni aren’t the only ones who will descend on campus before the football game.

Charley Pride, director of student activities and organizations, estimated that between 8,000 and 10,000 fans tailgated before September’s home opener against Indiana.

“We had a great turnout for a first game,” Pride said.

To make tailgating more enjoyable, WKU has opened up new areas on campus to park or picnic, President Gary Ransdell said.

“Other universities use their whole campus for the event, and we needed to do that,” he said.

Effective this semester, students could no longer park on the grass in front of McLean and Bates-Runner halls.

But about 2,500 fans showed up to the new student tailgating area between 14th Avenue and Kentucky Street, Pride said.

Nashville freshman Tiera Baca, who tailgated for the season’s first game, said she could feel the spirit all over campus from her view at the top of the Hill.

“I love the atmosphere,” she said.