George Mason University

News at Mason

Indoor tailgate to become new homecoming feature for Patriot alumni

February 6, 2017   /   by Alexa Rogers

Patriots at Mason's 2016 Homecoming event.

The alumni tent moved to the Johnson Center for Homecoming 2016, and Alumni Relations decided to make the indoor tailgate a regular feature of Homecoming for 2017. Photo by Ron Aira.

George Mason University’s Homecoming is Feb. 6-12, and this year, the Alumni Association is hoping it will be the best one yet for former students who are returning to campus.

Many of the events, such as the alumni beer tasting and annual First Pitch dinner, are returning from previous years. New this year is an indoor alumni tailgate before Saturday’s game.

A similar event was held last year after weather threatened to cancel the outdoor block party. Many alumni responded positively to an indoor event, said Kendra Walchinsky, assistant director for the Office of Alumni Relations, so the association moved to make it a part of this year’s festivities.

The indoor tailgate in Dewberry Hall at the Johnson Center will include a “spirit garden” where local (and some alumni-owned) wineries, breweries and distilleries will be offer tastings, and a “comfort food” buffet will be available with purchase of an event ticket. There will also be a tailgate lounge set up for relaxing and watching college basketball to get fans excited for the Patriots men’s basketball game against Fordham.

For alumni who want to make Homecoming a family event, a nearby kid zone will have face-painting, game poster making and a movie for mini-Patriots.

“We’re not tethered to legacy programs that can’t be changed…listening to our constituency and adapting as we go is a hallmark of who we are,” said Christine Clark-Talley, associate vice president for alumni relations.

The indoor tailgate will run in tandem with the outdoor block party, where a heated student spirit tent will have a cornhole tournament and opportunities for alumni to celebrate the day with current students. Clark-Talley said that alumni really value the opportunity to be engaged with current students.

“There’s a commitment among our alumni to stay connected with the students,” Clark-Talley said. “That’s why they come back and volunteer for things. They want to engage with students.”

A late-entry option is available for the indoor tailgate so alumni have the option of spending time at both events and warming up prior to the game.

Clark-Talley says the indoor tailgate will hopefully be a new part of Mason’s Homecoming traditions that the community can always look back on and feel a bit of nostalgia.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to come together as a community and celebrate what we love about Mason,” Clark-Talley said.

See the complete list of events here.