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Wellness Resource Center gathers information about MU fan behavior

Thursday, July 10, 2008 | 6:11 p.m. CDT; updated 4:54 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — How important is tailgating in your game day experience? On average, how many alcoholic beverages do you drink during typical tailgating activities? What do you typically do after an MU home football game?

The MU Wellness Resource Center wants to know.

The center has sent a survey to football season ticket holders that asks about their tailgating activities and what they observe other fans doing in parking lots at games. The survey was sent to 1,300 to 1,400 of this year’s season ticket holders last week. Earlier this year a survey with similar questions was sent to students.

But no one wants to take away fans’ tailgating fun. Kim Dude, director of the Wellness Resource Center, said there are no policy changes in the making; the university is simply gathering information. “We want to find out how to make the tailgating experience the best it possibly can be,” she said.

The survey asks where fans park and also tracks the effects of behaviors such as “drinking alcohol in excess,” playing drinking games, yelling profanities, driving aggressively in lots, and being rude to other fans.

Though the wellness center is conducting the survey, the MU Athletic Department was involved in its creation. The department approved all of the survey’s questions.

“We have a working relationship with Kim Dude, and we agreed to send it to season ticket holders,” said Chad Moller, director of media relations for the athletic department.

“We’ve been interested in understanding fan behavior for a long time, but we are not looking to make active changes (in current policy),” Moller said.

The center consulted the Fan Behavior Committee, a loose association of groups that have an interest in the behavior of fans at MU football games. The group formed a little over a year ago and includes the athletic department, the wellness center, Greek Life, Parking and Transportation and MU and Columbia police departments.

In 2006, MU instituted a policy that forbade tail-gaters from bringing bulk alcohol such as kegs to football games. Moller said the department was consulted in the institution of that policy but it was not the only group involved with the decision.

Though no policy change is in the works, Dude said the center might use the information to launch a marketing campaign to promote good fan behavior. “Sometimes tailgating gets a bad reputation, and we want to turn up the volume on the good behavior,” Dude said.

The wellness center is currently crunching the numbers and the study’s completion is slated for August, she said.

The center has a Web site, mizzoutailgating.com, that provides information on MU policy regarding alcohol and parking as well as tailgating recipes and tips.


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