The black alumni of Michigan and Michigan State met for the Urban Tailgate at the Key Club in downtown last night to watch not only the yearly rivalry game but also for the advancement of communication and scholarship between the two schools.
The Michigan State Black Alumni Association and the African American Alumni of the University of Michigan met in the spirit of competition in Detroit’s Key Club on Franklin St. Hundreds of alumni from both schools packed the three-floor venue in hopes to cheer on their school but also raise money for the MSUBA scholarship fund and the U of M’s Martin Luther King Jr. Fund. The MSUBA founded in 1981 and the AAAUM founded in 1979 were both created in hopes of fostering greater participation in each school’s alumni communities as well as providing scholarships for each school respectively.
Chuck Smith, president of the MSUBA applauded the levels of participation from both groups. “We have raised over $64,000 in scholarships [for MSU]” the sentiment was repeated throughout the evening as many attendees showered the event and its hosts with praise.
The Urban Tailgate was in its 14th inception this year and the Key Club was the perfect place to host such an event.
“We had to move it this year from Flood’s [Bar & Grille] because it actually just got way too big”, said event coordinator Paris Ross. “We just want to thank the Key Club and everyone involved for being such great hosts”.
Each floor of the Key Club was virtually taken over by the Tailgate as green & white clashed with maize & blue in every corner of the bar. Alumni of all different ages were in attendance and even former Michigan basketball star Jimmy King was there to cheer the Wolverines on. Shouts of praise and critique for each football team reverberated through the air and even the friendly game of cornhole on the 3rd floor had fallen victim to school solidarity.
The Urban Tailgate is just one of many events hosted by the AAAUM and the MSUBA with the Tailgate it being one of the prime get-togethers.
“We have a whole gang of events that we do through the year and this is just one of them”, Ross stated. “In July we have the Black Alumni Weekend with involvement from [U of M, MSU, Wayne State University and Eastern Michigan.] On Friday night, we have an “Evening of Eleagance” where we recognize notable alumni from each school. Saturday we have an alumni picnic on Belle Isle during the day and in the evening we have a block party. All proceeds go to scholarships for the respective alumni organizations.”
While the event coordinators were more than pleased with the turn out Smith was more than elated at the types of alumni attending.
“I’m happy to see more young alumni here at these events” he beamed. “It’s through these types of events that we can create more communication between the MSUBA and the AAAUM and it is through the communication we can build relationships and relationships create opportunity”.
The backdrop of the evening was of course the University of Michigan vs. Michigan State football game which Michigan won 12-10 with a game-winning field goal, much to the dismay of the MSUBA.