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DevilsGate looks to ignite football pride on campus

<p>The newly-renovated Wallace Wade Stadium now features a new student section located at field level and the Blue Devil Tower, which includes suites and a new media area.&nbsp;</p>

The newly-renovated Wallace Wade Stadium now features a new student section located at field level and the Blue Devil Tower, which includes suites and a new media area. 

This year’s DevilsGate tailgate aims to improve upon last year’s event and foster a football culture on campus.

The Gatekeepers—a group affiliated with Duke Student Government that is responsible for organizing DevilsGate before home football games—have planned to include live music, food and giveaways. The event has been moved to K-Ville from Abele Quadrangle but will continue to emphasize student safety after a 2010 incident when a 14-year-old was found passed out in a porta-potty. 

“We want to give people the idea that we’re trying to take this to next level,” senior Sophia Khan, co-director of the Gatekeepers, said. “We want to give people a variety of options to come together as a community instead of just drinking. We’re looking forward to revamping football culture.”

Saturday’s event is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. and will feature live music from G3—a stage name for senior Gilbert Brooks—as well as food from Jimmy’s Famous Hot Dogs and a tank top giveaway, said Khan. There will also be vegetarian options.

The alcohol policy at DevilsGate will be the same as the Last Day of Classes event, which does not permit more than six individual drinks or hard liquor.

“Our number one goal is to make sure students are having fun in an environment that is conducive to safety,” said Moses Wayne, a junior and co-director of the Gatekeepers.

With the threat of inclement weather from Hurricane Hermine, the first DevilsGate may be called off if the game is delayed or cancelled. That decision will likely be made by athletics administrators, Wayne said.

Last year’s DevilsGate featured a concert by pop singer Andy Grammer. Khan said that future tailgates will partner with fraternities to hold service events, student dance groups and a cappella groups.

Khan added that there will be fireworks prior to game time to get students in the stadium and excited for the game.

Some of the recent policy changes and renovations to Wallace Wade Stadium will also alter the student experience at Duke football games. Once inside, students will be able to experience the game up-close from a new field-level student section.

“They are the closest stands in the entire stadium to the game action on the field,” Director of Football Marketing Chris Alston said. “It works out well. It gets our loudest fans right down on the field and gives them that ability to make a difference inside the stadium.”

And instead of swiping a Duke ID to enter the stadium, students must have a game ticket—which can be obtained at the Duke ticket office throughout the week leading up to a home football game—in order to enter Wallace Wade. Using physical tickets will permit students to use any entrance.

“There’s one extra step for students, but it allows a lot more flexibility on game day to enter the stadium quickly,” Alston said.

Wayne added that students will no longer be allowed to re-enter Wallace Wade Stadium after leaving, unlike in previous years, and cannot bring bags into the stadium.

“I think it’s something that is necessary to do given all of the security risks at larger venues,” Wayne said. “A lot of the things we’re adopting with the football program are things we’ve been doing with Cameron [Indoor Stadium] forever.”

Although the renovations to the student section and other parts of the stadium have been completed, the Wallace Wade project will continue over the course of the football season, with some construction still incomplete on the east side of the stadium, including the ticket booths, concessions spaces and restrooms. Alston said he believes that fans will appreciate the improvements that have already been made.

“We really feel that all these changes are going to be big enhancements to the student experience,” Alston said. “We’re hoping for a big turnout, especially these first two weeks.”


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