RV area patrons must respect WSU, state policies

Visiting alumni should remember they are guests on campus, clean up before departing



Adam Ganders, assistant athletic director of Cougar Athletic Fund, discusses RV regulations and how the CAF goes through a third party for post-tailgate clean up Thursday in Bohler Gym.

ALEX BIVIANO, Evergreen columnist

The conditions of campus tailgating areas have improved from the raucous party locations they once were, but there is still work to be done so students have a positive experience with them on football weekends.

Given the university budget deficit, one of the central challenges is to preserve the revenue tailgating brings in.

An article published by The Daily Evergreen outlines how WSU plans to climb its way out of an annual debt by the end of fiscal year 2023. The keystone of this plan is to receive record donations to the Cougar Athletic Fund each and every year until the university is in the black again. If successful, this plan may allow the university to provide more resources to waste disposal and security.

The CAF is responsible for much of what makes Cougar football games great, as it funds and organizes many pregame and postgame festivities. It is also responsible for cleanup.

Adam Ganders, assistant athletic director for the CAF, said the CAF goes through a third party in order to restore campus to its pre-tailgate condition.

A problem with cleanup efforts is the massive influx of waste on campus during football weekends. As anyone who sees the garbage spilling on the ground can tell you, the standard divided waste and recycling receptacles found on campus are simply not enough to handle the increase. Extra receptacles should solve this problem, but this demands more funding from an organization that needs to pinch pennies for the sake of the university.

The conduct of the fans while tailgating needs to be addressed as well. This season, many tailgates have been riddled with violations of campus rules, as well as Washington state laws, regarding noise, public intoxication and other public nuisances.

Ganders said the CAF has a plan in place to improve conduct and recently sent a memo to patrons of the RV lots that reiterated the rules of tailgating at WSU. This notice includes a burn ban with the exception of grills for cooking as well as a reminder of the state’s open container laws.

This is certainly a step in the right direction. No new rules or regulations have been put in place, however, and tailgaters have simply violated them up until this point. No additional security measures were mentioned in terms of enforcement and I personally witnessed an open flame when driving past the main RV lot Thursday, the very first night since the memo was sent out.

Visitors of the campus can improve the environment for students by making small changes that would go a long way. By keeping track of their own waste, cleanup becomes a smaller task for the CAF and helps save money.

If alumni love WSU enough to make the drive to campus for football, they should love it enough to clean up after themselves before they leave.

Increased security would improve conditions as well and restore order between students and visitors in regard to noise and campus conduct. While alumni support for the university is appreciated, maintaining a code of conduct with the current student community would improve relations between the two groups.

RV lots and other tailgating areas may be a great source of income for the university and an important way to keep alumni connected to WSU. At the same time, patrons of these areas must show respect for university grounds and its students no matter how much money they have donated.