What's the Point of Tent City?

Reported by Danielle Brown

I participated in Tent City this year and while the experience is unlike any other at George Fox University (GFU), it wasn’t one worth the trouble. Tent City exists for students to secure their spots on Juniors Abroad trips. Students are assigned a number through an ASC lottery, which determines where they pitch their tent. They are then required to spend the night before registration in their tent.

In past years, ASC has conducted tent checks throughout the night to ensure at least one person is in the tent at all times. But this year, no tent checks were done, so sleeping in the tent held no real purpose.

My friends and I found ourselves repeatedly asking what the point of Tent City was as we tossed and turned and struggled to find a peaceful hour of rest.

By the time the evening activities had ended and I had officially given up on doing any homework, our neighbors had just started to party, laughing and screaming beside the warmth of a campfire placed just outside our tent. Unfortunately for my friends and me, the noise didn’t subside until 2 a.m.

Tent City is not a place for light sleepers. Even without the noise, it was difficult to sleep. Though the weather wasn’t as bad as it has been in prior years, the cold air blowing through the tent left us shivering until morning. Last year, Juniors Abroad prospects had to sleep in tents and blankets that were soaked by rain.

It would make more sense if Tent City was more of a competition. Participants could compete to be the first group to set up their tent or have the most decorated setup, letting more competitions like that decide where each tent stands in line. Otherwise, the night feels like a complete waste.

However, the experience wasn’t all bad. It was nice to spend some designated non-study time with friends and finally relax a little while the excitement of traveling abroad started sinking in.

Jessica DaughertyComment