Today's Update: Thursday, October 1

October 1, 2020

Dear Student Life Team, If you’ve been on campus lately, you’ve seen a number of tents set up in various places. They aren’t circus tents, but yet another strategy in our effort to provide the best possible safe and healthy experience for our students.  

There are at least nine tents around campus; three of them are a function of Student Life. We are currently using ours for two purposes, additional space for students to eat and a place for small groups (under 10) to informally hang out.  

It is crucial that students have the opportunity to connect with each other. It is a key component of our efforts to support their success and retention. Especially now in our COVID reality, we have to look for innovative ways to facilitate those interactions. This is one of those tactics. For now, we are prioritizing eating space and residence hall engagement.  \

Each tent comes equipped with lights, tables and chairs. Eventually, as limited in-person events can be resumed safely, the tents will be reservable. The Ohio Union Events team will manage both the scheduling process and the cleaning of the furnishings.   

The tents are getting a lot of use. They are especially busy during dinner hours, but there are very few times when any of them are empty. Afternoons seem to attract students using the areas to study. With the round tables set up and proper physical distancing, each tent can accommodate 40 or more people.  

Student Life team members do spot checks several times a day, making sure the furniture is arranged properly as well cleaning and sanitizing.  

The Student Life tents are on North Campus near the Tom W. Davis Tower and by Houck/Raney/Taylor halls; on south campus one is located on the lawn across 12th Avenue from Hale Hall. They’re large tents. The one near Hale Hall is 3,200 square feet, while the ones on North Campus are 2,400 and 1,600 square feet.  

The other tents on campus are run by other units. The College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences tents are located at Kottman Hall, Waterman Headquarters and Olentangy Wetland. They are being used to support staging before and after students participate in outdoor labs and projects. 

Three others are being used by Arts and Sciences.  These are generally used for arts classes and programming. One on the South Oval is for Dance (I personally love watching the performers and hearing the music which has included drummers and a keyboardist), a tent near Browning Amphitheater is being used by Music/Theatre, and one near Stillman is for Theatre/Art/Dance and the Hybrid Arts Lab. These are largely performance classes. 

With all the buildings on campus, who would have thought tents would become this important?! It’s just another example of our Scarlet and Great innovation and flexibility.