Annual Tent City Spreads Awareness of Hunger and Homelessness
Kayla Hedman ’14 / Champlain News
BURLINGTON, VT. – Tent City will be held Monday through Friday, Nov. 14-18. The annual event hopes to have about 100 Champlain College students give up their smart phones, laptops, and warm beds to highlight the struggles of homeless families and individuals to the greater Champlain community.
It is all part of National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week. The event, organized by members of the College's Center for Service and Civic Engagement (CSCE), is a solidarity event for Champlain College students to learn about this ever-increasing local and national plight.
During the week, Champlain students, faculty and staff will sleep in tents, provided by Student Life and St. Michael’s College, in the center of campus on the Aiken Green. Participants are asked to give up all technology, shower in the gym locker rooms and use public resources such as internet in the library. Each evening in the dining hall, they are provided with a typical "soup kitchen" dinner menu, similar to those served in homeless shelters and food shelves.
The weeks of and prior Tent City, participants will be fundraising on campus to raise money for COTS (Committee on Temporary Shelter), an all-service shelter providing support services in Burlington. Following night classes, guest speakers from local-nonprofits, such as COTS and the Howard Center, will discuss the constant struggle for many people in Vermont. Participants will then partake in nightly reflections conducted by volunteer student leaders. Evening discussions and film screenings are open to the public.
CSCE Work Study, Hannah Andersen, and volunteer, Shelby Dickinson, hope that this year will be as successful as the last. “In the past we have raised over $2,000 for COTS (Committee on Temporary Shelter). It is not all about the money though. Tent City raises awareness on campus about homelessness," explained Andersen, "it is important to support individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless."
Tent City fulfills a portion of the College's community service requirements for first-year students who participate in one or multiple nights.
If you are interested in participating in Tent City or other service events visit www.go.champlain.edu/service
To learn more about COTS (Committee on Temporary Shelter), please visit www.cotsonline.org
Everyone (faculty, staff, and students) is invited to attend nightly speakers, film screenings and events. You do not have to sleep out to be involved in the movement. The schedule is as follows (all events begin at 8:30p.m. in Hauke Conference Room):
· MONDAY Nov. 14: Focus on Veterans and Homelessness
o Film Screening of “When I Came Home”
· TUESDAY Nov. 15: Focus on Youth and Homelessness
o Speaker Justin Verette – Youth Outreach worker and Community Interventionist (collaboration between Burlington Police Department and Howard Center)
o Zumbathon 6-8 p.m., Argosy Gymnasium. Canned good entry fee
· WEDNESDAY Nov. 16: Focus on Families and Homelessness
o Panel/spoken word from COTS
· THURSDAY Nov. 17: Focus on Hunger and Homelessness
o Rite Bite Hunger Banquet with International Education Week (closed to the public)
· FRIDAY Nov. 18:
o 10 a.m. Tent clean up
o 12:30 p.m. Celebration lunch for participants