Ryan Shingledecker

Members of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity shotgun beers while tailgating before the UT versus New Mexico football game on Aug. 31, 2013.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

With tailgates at UT football games currently spread across various parking lots around Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, leaders from one student organization have proposed a single student tailgate to unite students.

Ryan Shingledecker, former Students for Texas Athletics president and current president Preston Moore are in the process of working with University officials to create a University-sponsored student tailgate. Shingledecker, a international relations and global studies senior, said the tailgate is still only an idea at this point, but once established, the tailgate would be a single area for all students to go to before football games.

Moore, who is a finance, business honors and Plan II senior, said the tailgate would be similar to those held by other universities that have tailgates located on campus for students and alumni, with various student organizations involved.

“The goal of it is to unify the student body and to have the tradition of being able to go as a student of an organization or not of an organization,” Moore said. “Anybody could come and tailgate all together in one spot.”

Shingledecker said the concept of a student tailgate came to him while running for Student Government president in 2013. According to Shingledecker, during his campaign, many students said they would like to see a tailgate on campus.

Shingledecker, who ultimately lost the SG election, joined Students for Texas Athletics and developed a proposal with Moore, outlining their ideal student tailgate. The proposal was presented to UT Athletics on April 28 and is currently under review.

“We’re in the process of meeting with people, and that’s one of those things where our hopes might not be able to come to fruition because we put everything we would ever want,” Shingledecker said.

The group’s ideal location for the tailgate is the East Mall.

“We think it would be cool to have tailgating on the East Mall, from the Tower all the way down to the stadium,” Shingledecker said. “The hope in that is that we have the Tower in the background leading up to the stadium.”

Gerald Harkins, associate vice president of Campus Safety & Security, said this location is a possibility, but factors such as pedestrian traffic, the loading and unloading of equipment and the maintenance of facilities, among others, must be considered before a decision is made.

Another factor being considered is the consumption of alcohol by those at the tailgate.

“We want students to have fun, but we also know there are liabilities and risks involved, too,” Moore said.

Harkins said, if alcohol is sold, a policy must be implemented to keep attendees and those passing through safe.

“If you make the assumption that there is going to be alcohol there, which I was told there would be — so people over 21 are going to be drinking — you’ve got to do ID cards or wristbands,” Harkins said.

SG President Kori Rady said he is also interested in establishing a student tailgate and has met with members of the athletics department as potential funders, but, with all the changing parts, no decisions have yet been made.

“Athletics is extremely busy throughout the season and prior to the season,” Rady said. “Sometimes, it is really difficult in certain situations to implement such a large-scale event.”

Rady said he hopes to at least set the foundation for a student tailgate this year.

Clockwise from top left: Horacio Villarreal and Ugeo Williams, Connie Tao and Ryan Upchurch, Maddie Fogel and Ryan Shingledecker, Alison Stoos and Chris Gilman. 

Photo Credit: Jorge Corona | Daily Texan Staff

Homeless individuals on campus, Student Activity Center couches, police call boxes, a bear pond and protection of “ginger” communities were just a few of the topics covered Monday at the Student Government executive alliance debate, hosted by the Dean of Students office and moderated by the Election Supervisory Board.  

The alliances include Chris Gilman and Alison Stoos; Ryan Shingledecker and Maddie Fogel; Connie Tao and Ryan Upchurch; and Horacio Villarreal and Ugeo Williams. The candidates for university-wide representatives also spoke about how they hoped to improve campus.

Gilman, radio-television-film junior, and English senior Stoos said the homeless population was the pressing issue on campus, suggesting to house them using the Student Government initiative of extended hours at the Perry-Castañeda Library. The alliance also said they would like to make changes to the turtle pond.

“The turtle pond on campus, why?” Gilman said. “What we want to do is make it a bear pond, put bears there and have on-sight security guards tranquilizing them all-day so they’re just sleeping. You can take pictures, put them on your iPhone, put them on Instagram.”

Shingledecker, an international relations and global studies senior, and English junior Fogel said their “voice box” initiative to hear suggestions and complaints from students will make Student Government more approachable for students to express concerns and solve tangible issues replacing the furniture on the second floor of the SAC.

“Student don’t feel valued,” Fogel said. “We go to a big school and feel that we’re not all known and that doesn’t love us back. That’s why only 7,000 people vote. You can’t just vote for someone flippantly as a joke.”

Tao, a radio-television-film, finance and business honors junior, and finance junior Upchurch said their campaign efforts to reach students in a creative and entertaining way is what students want out of Student Government. The alliance said they want to continue reaching out to disadvantaged students, including those with red hair.

“I want to engage a greater portion of the UT population,” Tao said. “Student Government needs to interact with those marginalized or forgotten. SG is so far removed from the whole of the student body and we are here to bring them together. For all the students that didn’t go to class today because of the wind, for all the ones that hooked up on ShingoFogel’s couches, who want their voice to be heard. This one’s for you.”

History senior Villarreal and Williams, a sociology and education senior, emphasized their campaign platform point to improve student services and safety around campus. The alliance spent much of the debate defending against rebuttals of the other candidates. The alliances said they want to improve incoming students’ campus mentors, increase the number of police call boxes and make students more aware of their use.

“Student services is a huge thing that we pay our money to fund,” Williams said. “We want to reach out to as many communities on campus as we can. We know we won’t be able to touch everyone but we want to.”

Elections will be held Wednesday and Thursday. Students can vote on utexasvote.org.

Ryan Shingledecker and Maddie Fogel

Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

Ryan Shingledecker and Maddie Fogel are campaigning for more open communication between Student Government and students.

Shingledecker is an international relations and global studies senior and Fogel is an English junior.

“We’re passionate about empowering students to reach their full potential by making the most of student government,” Shingledecker said. “We truly believe that everyone here has inherent value and the capacity to be a force for change in the world.”

The alliance, if elected, plan to make student life on campus more comfortable by trying to bring Redbox DVD rental kiosks and food trucks to campus, providing tailgate areas, improving the quality of the toilet paper in campus restrooms and providing late night bus service to students living in the Riverside and North Campus areas. 

The two also plan to implement a system called the “voice box,” which would allow student to suggest their own improvement ideas.

“It’s essentially a comments section to hear people’s ideas for any legislation, or proposed change,” Fogel said. “Big or small, if it benefits the student body, we want to do it. It can be as simple as saying, ‘Those futuristic couches in the SAC stink.’”