The Stony Brook University Athletics Department will unveil a new tailgating location called Seawolves Town as part of the department’s rebranding effort, and the football season opener against Central Connecticut on Sept. 12 will be the first game to feature this new tailgating experience.
What was once just the east side of LaValle Stadium’s parking lot will become “the prime tailgating location during Seawolves football game days,” according to a news release from the Athletics Department.
The lot will be divided into the general “Town” and the student-only “Lot.” The “Town” will showcase carnival games, balloon artists and face painters. The “Lot” will have food, music and other tailgating activities that will vary week to week.
“Seawolves Town will feature a festive game day atmosphere for every home football game that will include most, if not all, of the aforementioned activities,” Associate Athletic Director for External Services Rob Emmerich said in an email. “While those activities will serve as the ‘staples’ of Seawolves Town, we do plan to have some variety in Seawolves Town from week-to-week.”
Tailgating does have restrictions, however. A permit is required to park in Seawolves Town. One season-long permit costs $150, and fans can pay $75 per additional permit. Tailgating regulations, enforced by the University Police Department, also apply.
“Athletics is in the process of finalizing a tailgate policy that will be available on their website in the coming weeks,” Eric Olsen, assistant chief of the University Police Department, said in an email.
Seawolves Town is not the only new initiative for fans the Athletics Department is rolling out. The Red Zone student section has been moved from the south end zone to the west sideline in order to give students a better view.
Also new to the stands is the Wolfpack, a student led support group that will be hosting events in Seawolves Town.
These new traditions are all part of the Together We Transform plan. The plan looks to turn Stony Brook University into Long Island’s premier sports destination. The Athletics Department will make efforts to rebrand the school, to create a better environment for student athletes, to compare to other Division I schools and to expand the programs in the department.
After Hofstra University dropped its football program on Dec. 3, 2009, the Seawolves had the chance to become the powerhouse of Long Island football.
Zach Schonbrun wrote in a 2010 New York Times article that “it was fortunate news at Stony Brook’s 1,000-acre campus along the northern rim of Long Island. Despite constraints from the state, [former Athletics Director Jim] Fiore had already been reinvigorating Stony Brook’s fund-raising to take aim at Hofstra, its competition in Hempstead.”
In the past few years, Stony Brook football has made a jump from Big South Conference to the Colonial Athletic Association, played tougher teams and became a home for transfers from premier Football Bowl Subdivision programs like Oregon, all in the name of competition.
In order to compete with its rivals, Stony Brook is looking to draw fans and pack LaValle Stadium.
“While we did take a look at how several universities implemented similar ideas on their campuses, there were no specific institutions that served as the inspiration for Seawolves Town,” Emmerich said. “We wanted to put together an incredible game day experience that was unique to Stony Brook and provided our fans and Long Island with a can’t-miss event on Seawolves Saturdays.”