With the exception of the final score of the football game, homecoming was a big success. Columbia almost felt like college for a day—students and alumni, Greeks and non-Greeks, children and adults enjoyed the unencumbered tailgating and a host of family-friendly amusements at Baker Field. Columbians' enthusiastic participation is an improvement over the recent Baker Field boycotts and draconian tailgating policies that marred previous events and alienated students. This year's event was an example of a policy done right: Public Safety watched over the crowd, but alcohol flowed easily. It was not allowed into the stadium, but was not restricted to just one beer an hour for those with two forms of identification. Columbia's administration and student councils deserve praise for engendering the kind of festive atmosphere that has been lacking in previous years.
After one massive event with a liberal alcohol policy, there have been no lawsuits, no riots, and no drunk freshmen pulled from the Hudson. Homecoming has shown how a little trust and a few enlightened policies can ensure that everyone has fun and stays safe. Columbia administrators should take heart from this year's successful homecoming and show similar leniency toward student events on campus in spite of the ongoing War on Fun. The day was not without its faults: many non-Greek tailgaters lamented limited access to barbecues and beverages—the only food in the student area came from a table manned by the Columbia Club. What's more, Columbia only allowed those who purchased quite expensive parking spaces to bring in alcohol. In other words, fans had to drive to drink.
Perhaps in the future, Columbia will encourage more student groups to tailgate without belonging to fraternities or sororities and paying to barbecue. College Democrats could flip burgers while the College Republicans pump beer from a keg, with the Columbia Political Union standing between them making sure everyone got his fair share. A good homecoming experience might make them more likely to look kindly upon their alma mater when deciding whether to donate, and it might also encourage returning alumni to continue giving.