HBCU culture has many aspects that many would consider to be crucial in appreciating the overall feel of a football game day. These includes pregame shows, band performances, SWAG surfing, and of course, tailgating.

Tailgating at any sporting venue generally includes music, barbecue, and good vibes, but HBCU tailgates brings an entirely new perspective. On the Bluff leading up to Southern kickoffs though, the music plays a little louder, the barbecue is a bit better, and the vibes are just a little cooler.

Due to the pandemic that we are still going through, it’s been close to two years since Jaguar Nation has been able to have a proper game day sleight of events. If you were in attendance on the Yard over the weekend, the electricity in the air was obvious as the Jaguar faithful got to make up lost time.

While we of course want to show out for the team and show support for the student-athletes, it’s the opportunity to be social among friends and peers that makes SU game days on the Bluff so appealing. Especially after the initial quarantine period of 2020, most people were desperate to have moments in the places that matter most, which for many, is on the Bluff.

Despite all of this, the extra emphasis that must be put on safety during these game day events can’t be understated. Tailgating on game days features a diverse cast of characters from all corners of the globe, and as such, we must be mindful of the times we are living.

This mindfulness includes staying masked up around large groups of people, with or without the vaccine, and being mindful of how we interact with high risk members of the Jaguar family, including the elderly and those who have preexisting conditions.

It’s also important to note that not everyone on campus in vaccinated, and even with the vaccine, you can still spread COVID. So while we all want to have a back-to-normal game day experience every Saturday going forward, we must also be responsible when it comes to our health.

If we stay mindful of the health of others around us and take the necessary precautions by masking up, then perhaps next year will mark a time when such precautions will be unnecessary. Until then, protect yourselves, be mindful of your surroundings, and enjoy the season as we currently have it.

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