Tent City is an annual four day event that takes place each year during National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week in November.
In 2013, four Champlain College staff members and 53 students participated in Tent City. On average, students participated for 14 hours, engaging in various activities, including a soup kitchen style dinner, a Zumba benefit class, a hunger banquet simulation, and sleeping out in a tent until morning. Additionally, there were student organizers who participated for the full four days — 96 hours — not including the countless hours preparing for the event, and others who participated for two or more nights.
Students who get involved commit to giving up their technologies (cell phones, iPods, laptops, etc.), do their homework in the library or computer labs, as well as attend various speakers and/or films to highlight and further discuss issues regarding homelessness and poverty, and sleep in tents in the middle of Perry Lawn to increase awareness and be in solidarity with those without homes.
During Tent City, students also volunteered at COTS and prepared a meal to give out at their Day Station the next day which directly impacted about 30 people.
The Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) —a non-profit organization that provides emergency shelter, housing, and other services to homeless or marginally housed Vermonters — is the main beneficiary of this event. The group does extensive fundraising to make a donation to the organization and students are encouraged to raise $10 per night they sleep outside. Students were able to raise over $400 for COTS this year!