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Pre-game tailgate promotes departmental unity

Marisa Iati | Friday, September 24, 2010

Notre Dame’s Department of Economics wants students to know they have the world’s largest economics tailgate.


The Department of Economics has spent every home football Saturday offering a tailgate for its majors and other students that want to attend.


The Department started its tailgates two years ago as a means to meet colleagues’ families but became an annual event during the 2009 season.

Each home game tailgate draws in an average of 50 to 75 people, most of whom are department faculty members, their families or their friends.

Occasionally, former students who are in town for the games will stop by and participate at the tailgate as well, Eric Sims, professor of economics, said.


The economics tailgates offer its attendees burgers, brats and pulled pork sandwiches and games of cornhole.


“We like grilled meat,” said professor of economics Bill Evans.


Evans and Sims organize the tailgates and send out an e-mail to the staff and students in the department to advertise.


Evans and Sims said the tailgates begin between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. and generally take place south of Notre Dame Stadium in the Joyce Center parking lot.


Although other University departments including the Investment Office, The Center for Culture and Ethics and the Alliance for Catholic Education also host tailgates for their members, Sims said his department’s tailgate is different.


“I think that it’s unique in that we have near universal participation among faculty members in this department,” Sims said. “It’s also unique because we have a flag.”


Assistant Professor of Economics Kasey Buckles designed the flag, which is bright yellow with the phrase “Supplying Spirit, Demanding Victory.”


Sims said he sees the department tailgate as something more than a game day event.


“[The purpose of the tailgates] is to bring the Department together as a family and to unite together in our support of our University and our football team,” he said. “I think our Department is unique in that everyone gets along well and we’re all committed to the department succeeding and the University as a whole succeeding.”


Sims said members from the Department of Economics now get together to watch the away games as well.


Evans said he hopes that, in the future, a donor will endow the tailgates.

However, he is happy with the current state of the tailgates: good food in a good environment for the faculty members and their families to spend time together.


“We enjoy that almost as much as we enjoy winning, but our demand for victory has exceeded the supply,” Sims said.