According to yourdictionary.com, “game day” is a noun defined as “the day on which a sports team plays a game.” For students at the University of Minnesota, it’s so much more than that. Game day, according to a Gopher, is when students and alumni alike break out their best maroon and gold ensembles and come together to celebrate their school spirit. Tailgating or pre-gaming before a college football game isn’t uncommon, but ask any celebrating student around Dinkytown what their tradition is, and it’s very likely that they have one response: FloCo Courtyard. For years the FloCo Fusion apartments have held pre-game celebrations, where hundreds of students (and even some brave parents) have gathered to get in the game day mood, share a beer with friends, and altogether have a good time before heading over to TCF Bank Stadium.
“I lived at FloCo last year and game days were our favorite,” said junior Lauren Van Elsen. “We’d wake up early, and be in the courtyard celebrating by 9 a.m.” Unfortunately, us Gophers will have to celebrate game days a little differently this year. In the first week of September, as students were all moving into their new apartments and were slowly getting adjusted back to school life, the FloCo management sent out an email regarding game day celebrations that created quite the uproar:
“It was our intention to continue the tradition this year, however…our insurance provider has threatened to completely cancel our insurance coverage if game day tailgates do not cease immediately.” It was made clear that this was not an ownership or management decision.
Since then, students have made their voices heard through different social media outlets, and hung posters and signs on their windows demanding to “Bring back FloCo game days.” One student even took it upon himself to create a Change.org petition. In the three weeks since the announcement to end FloCo game day celebrations was made, this petition racked up 1,565 online signatures, and several pages of comments that referred to this celebration as a “Big 10 tradition,” or a “staple in the undergrad experience.” Talk about Gopher spirit!
One comment that seemed to be echoed by many of the commenters on the petition was that FloCo management waited to make the announcement until after all the leases were signed. “As a resident at Floco this year, I was under the impression when I signed my lease that this experience would be included in my rent,” wrote one commenter. “Unfortunately, now I am one very unhappy resident, and I know that I do not stand alone. I would not have chosen FloCo as my home this year if I had known game days would not be included.”
Other commenters suggested ways to improve the safety of the courtyard that would satisfy the insurance company. In past years, FloCo has given its residents a certain number of tickets or wristbands that would allow only a certain number of students into the courtyard. Other suggestions were to increase security and to limit, or even ban, alcohol consumption in the courtyard.
“This is why we urge Management staff at FloCo Fusion to consider what makes the insurance providers uncomfortable with the game day events, and work out a plan to revamp safety measures that satisfies them,” writes the author of the petition. For now, the FloCo management staff has not made any public comments on the petition, or any future plans for the courtyard.