Smoke filled the air as shouts of “Hail to the Buff! Hail to the Blue!” echoed through the rose garden Tuesday.
The GW band was silenced by the University Police Department in the event’s first few minutes because it disturbed classes in nearby buildings, but the tailgate party that kicked off Spirit Week drew a substantial crowd.
Many students said the clouds of smoke from the grill attracted them to the event.
“Where there’s smoke, there’s dinner,” senior Alyssa Rothenberg said.
Jill Kiah, a graduate assistant in the Student Activities Center and an organizer of the event, said the prospect of free food was an incentive for students to attend the event.
The Young Alumni Society provided guests with snow cones, and Interfraternity Council members were responsible for cooking hamburgers.
But the people serving food faced their share of problems. Halfway through the event, IFC members had to move to another grill because they were running out of charcoal, causing long lines for the much-anticipated burgers.
While in line, students were treated to entertainment from cheerleaders and the dance squad, who were forced to sing the GW fight song without band accompaniment.
“Though the food service was slow, our spirits were not dampened,” guest Mark SooHoo said.
The tailgate party was the culmination of the efforts of several groups, including the cheerleaders and dance squad, Program Board, SAC, the Black Peoples’ Union, the IFC, the Young Alumni Society and the band, Colonial Brass.
Laura Zylka, SAC assistant director for orientation, special events and spirit programs, said she hopes the party will ignite energy in fans during the upcoming basketball season.
“I’m really excited,” Zylka said. “We’re getting students to come out and show some spirit.”
Kiah said the event was an effort to promote the basketball season and other Spirit Week events, especially Midnight Madness – a pep rally slated for Friday night in the Smith Center to introduce the basketball teams.
A sixth-man raffle, also part of Spirit Week, will give a lucky student the chance to sit on the bench with the GW men’s basketball team during its exhibition game against Court Authority.
“People are getting excited for the different events,” Kiah said. “It’s going really well. It’s exciting. There’s a lot of school spirit.”