EAST LANSING - The Michigan State University football team opens its 2016 season tonight against Furman University at Spartan Stadium, and fans will encounter a few changes as they come and go from campus.
The biggest change: Tobacco use is banned on campus under an ordinance that took effect Aug. 15, and not just cigarettes and cigars, but chewing tobacco and vaping, as well.
"This is kind of a cultural shift, to make for a better lifestyle for everyone on campus," MSU police Capt. Doug Monette said. "It's one of those things where it will take the whole university working together to make people aware of the ordinance."
Officers will use "patience, discretion and common sense" in enforcing the law, he said.
"There are signs up, and our officers can enforce it," Monette said. "But part of what we plan on doing is educating people. A lot of people who are here for the game may not know about it."
A couple of traffic changes will affect drivers as they leave campus.
All southbound traffic on Harrison Road, north of Kalamazoo Street, will be routed onto westbound Kalamazoo Street after the game. Only CATA buses and emergency vehicles are exempted.
To the south, drivers leaving the new parking ramp built on Harrison Road at the site of the former Michigan State Police headquarters will have to go south on Harrison Road.
The new ramp holds about 1,100 vehicles, and the sheer volume of traffic will cause longer wait times for people driving in that area, East Lansing Police Lt. Scott Wriggelsworth said.
"We have the same roads and the same number of officers; we just have more cars," Wriggelsworth said. "We're just asking people to be patient. We'll get them off Harrison and Trowbridge as fast as we can."
Meanwhile, MSU's ban on open alcohol remains in effect. So does the no-bag policy at the stadium.
Police will not enforce the "open container" ordinance for those of legal drinking age while the parking lots are open for tailgating, MSU officials said. But Munn Field and the pedestrian areas near the stadium will remain alcohol-free zones.
Purses, diaper bags, camera cases and other types of bags are not allowed inside the stadium.
All campus lots used for football parking will open at 3:30 p.m. and close three hours after the game ends.
More information about game day, including the new tobacco ordinance and the no-bag policy, is available at http://gameday.msu.edu/index.html.
(2016 © Lansing State Journal)