NIU Alumni Association to Unveil "Mission's Grove" Alumni Tailgating Area on Sept. 1

  • Graphic by Mark Lobo, NIU Alumni Association

Updated 8/22/2022 8:44 AM

On Thursday, Sept. 1, the Northern Illinois University Alumni Association will unveil its newest opportunity for Huskie alumni, family and friends as the "Mission's Grove" alumni tailgating area will open at 4 p.m., prior to the NIU vs. Eastern Illinois football home opener at Huskie Stadium.

"Mission's Grove" welcomes all and is free of charge. It is located in the Oderkirk parking lot, which is adjacent to the Barsema Alumni & Visitors Center at 231 N. Annie Glidden Road in DeKalb.


"Mission's Grove will give alumni and friends of the University a chance to reconnect and celebrate the Huskie community together," said Reggie Bustinza, executive director of operations and alumni relations. "I am so excited to see what this designated space will do for Huskie fans and their families, and I hope it brings us together in a meaningful way, as we celebrate our defending Mid-American Conference champions."

After Sept. 1, Mission's Grove will host alumni before two other home games throughout the fall season, starting at 11:30 a.m. on both Saturday, Sept. 17, against Vanderbilt University, and on Saturday, Oct. 8, against Toledo during NIU's 115th Homecoming Game.

This area will feature alumni-owned Pollyanna Brewing & Distilling and Waterman Winery & Vineyards, along with a variety of unique and eclectic food trucks that will appeal to all ages. In addition to the food and beverages available, attendees will also be able to purchase NIU alumni merchandise at our alumni gear table.

Guests can visit with their favorite four-legged mascot, Mission, enjoy a performance by the NIU Huskie Marching Band, and partake alongside other alumni in "Mission's March" to Huskie Stadium 45 minutes before kickoff.

"We are always looking for ways to connect Huskies, and I am thrilled about this new way to forge community, right in our own backyard," said Bustinza. "We hope Huskie fans in our neighboring cities, like Rockford and Aurora, will feel welcome to come back to campus, enjoy a day of carefree fun, and help us build a new NIU tradition."

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