Annual Tent City Spreads Awareness of Hunger and Homelessness

Evening registration begins in the November chill at Tent City 2012.

The Champlain College Center for Service & Civic Engagement (CSCE) is holding their annual Tent City solidarity event this weekend, Friday, Nov. 15 to Tuesday, Nov. 19. The event coincides with National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week and is an opportunity for the greater Champlain community to become more aware of these matters on a local, national, and global level.

As in past years, the event hopes to have about 100 Champlain students, faculty and staff spend an evening between Friday and Monday in tents on Perry Lawn, with exposure to South Willard Street, and give up all technology and the comforts of home. Participants are asked to use public resources such as computers and Internet in the library and shower in the gym locker rooms on campus. Each evening in the IDX dining hall, Sodexo is providing a typical "soup kitchen" dinner menu, similar to those served in homeless shelters and food shelves, then students will partake in a nightly reflection conducted by volunteer student leaders.

Involvement in Tent City does not stop at spending a night in the cold. "This year we're having a Zumba-thon benefit event, cooking a meal at COTS Daystation, collaborating with various non-profits to welcome speakers and movie screenings relevant to the subject of hunger and homelessness, and hosting a ‘Reality Bite Hunger Banquet' event," said Colleen Rooney, a student organizer of this year's Tent City and student employee in the CSCE.

The schedule of events coinciding with Tent City is as follows:

  • Friday, Nov. 15 - Justin Verette from the Howard Center will speak at 7 p.m. in Joyce 210
  • Saturday, Nov. 16 - Cook a meal at COTS Daystation at 10 a.m.; Reality Bite Hunger Banquet at 5:30 p.m. in Hauke Boardroom
  • Sunday, Nov. 17 - Screening of The Homeless Home Movie at 7 p.m. in Ireland 217
  • Monday, Nov. 18 - Speaker from COTS at 8:30 p.m. in Perry Presentation Room
  • Tuesday, Nov. 19 - Zumba Benefit Class at 6:45 p.m. in the IDX Fitness Center Studio, entry is one nonperishable food item

Candlelight vigil as a nightly reflection in Hauke CourtyardEvening discussions and film screening events are open to the public; donations are suggested to benefit the event's partner and beneficiary, the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS). All participants in Tent City events are will receive a free Tent City t-shirt. Also, first-year students can receive credit through the Life Experience & Action Dimension (LEAD) program to fulfill their community engagement requirement. When signing up on a specific night, please be aware of the check-in time and additional community events required to receive LEAD credit.

"I believe this is an event that every student should participate in. Tent City is a solidarity event, not a simulation, but it raises awareness about the issue of homelessness and gives students some idea of what people who are homeless in Burlington may have to go through, especially as it is in November when the weather is colder," said Rooney. "We are lucky to have resources such as tents, sleeping bags, and the option of sleeping inside if we get too cold."

In addition to being an awareness event, Tent City is also a fundraiser for COTS, an all-service shelter providing support services in Burlington. Donations will be collected each night during the event registration, or can be brought to the CSCE office in Skiff Annex 203. Donations can be cash, canned goods, or a check made payable to COTS. 

As stated before, one does not have to sleep out to be involved in the movement, but please support students who do. For more information, check out this video from Tent City 2012:

To learn more about this year's partner and beneficiary, COTS (Committee on Temporary Shelter), please visit

Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 384 Colleges: 2019 Edition. For the fourth year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2019 "America's Best Colleges,” and a “Best Value School” and is ranked in the top 100 “Regional Universities of the North” and in the top 25 for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.” Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2019 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2019 College of Distinction. For more information, visit