Police and local bars prepare for homecoming weekend crowds

Published by adviser, Author: Janelle Wilson - Asst. Campus Life Editor, Date: September 25, 2014
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With Homecoming happening at SRU this weekend, local bars, and campus and state police have been working to ensure that faculty, students, and incoming alumni have a safe and enjoyable weekend.

In their seventh year running Ginger Hill Tavern, Nichole and Matt Kovasik have scheduled more bartenders, wait staff, and security in preparation for Homecoming weekend.

“Homecoming is always a fun time of year, but it’s also a really busy time for me,” Matt Kovacik said. “We open at 8 a.m. instead of 11, so I have to make sure we’re stocked up with breakfast food. We usually get a big breakfast crowd right before the parade.”

The parade is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Main Street, and state police will be monitoring the parade route until it concludes at 11 a.m.

Both the campus police and Pennsylvania Liquor Control Enforcement will be monitoring tailgating to enforce their 2014 tailgating policies, which can be found at www.rockathletics.com. The new policies say that tailgating is only permissible three hours before kickoff at 2 p.m., and two hours after the end of the game. All alcohol must remain in the parking lot, and permissible beverages are limited to beer and wine.

2009 alumnus and a scheduled bartender for Homecoming weekend, Brittni Wonderling said that she’s expecting to be busy, but that it’s a fun time to work at Ginger Hill.

“The spurts of people come in three parts,” she said. “You have part one people who come in for breakfast and the parade, and you have part two people who come in before the game, then both of them come in after the game’s over. It gets a little hectic.”

Kovasik said the extra security he staffed for this weekend is just a precaution. Homecoming patrons aren’t usually rowdier than the average bar-goer, but there are a lot more of them, and it doesn’t hurt to have extra staff on hand, he said.

“We have a good atmosphere here, and we don’t get a lot of fights,” he said. “Our biggest problem here is kids showing up with their fake IDs. That usually isn’t a problem on Homecoming, but it’s good we have more guys to double-check them.”

Kovacik said that most of his patrons during Homecoming are alumni who either worked at Ginger Hill before, or frequented the bar when they were in college.

“It’s so cool seeing so many people who used to go here come back, and genuinely miss everything about Slippery Rock,” Wonderling said.

Aside from tailgate monitoring, and increased security in local bars, state police will also be monitoring both on and off-campus housing. The Happy Bus will also be accommodating people by extending its weekday on-campus route all day Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

“I’m looking forward to seeing everybody from previous years,” Kovasik said. “Everyone here knows that if they have a problem, they can always get help from our guys in the red shirts.”

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