Annual Tent City Spreads Awareness of Hunger and Homelessness

BURLINGTON, VT. — This year, Champlain College's Center for Service & Civic Engagement (CSCE) is mixing it up a bit, holding their annual Tent City solidarity event over a weekend - Thursday, Nov. 8 - Monday, Nov. 12.

As in years past, the 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 in the greater Champlain community.

During the week, Champlain students, faculty and staff will sleep in tents on Perry Lawn in the center of campus. 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.

Tent City is part of National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week. The event, organized by members of a Tent City Planning Committee through the CSCE, is a solidarity event for Champlain College students to learn about this ever-increasing local and national plight. Tent City fulfills a portion of the College's LEAD community service requirements for first-year students who participate in one or multiple nights, but is open to the entire Champlain community.

In addition to being an awareness event, Tent City is also a fundraiser for the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS), an all-service shelter providing support services in Burlington. This year, student participants are encouraged to raise $10 for every night they sleep out. In the week prior Tent City, participants will be gathering support from friends, classmates, professors, and employers. By sponsoring a student, you can still contribute to the cause and show your support. Donations will be collected each night during the event registration, rather than throughout the day on Aiken Green. If you chose to contribute with a check, it can be made payable to "COTS."

Since the event is taking place over the weekend, requirements vary this year. When signing up on a specific night, please be aware of the check-in time and additional community events required to receive LEAD credit. Evening events and daily activities include guest speakers from local-nonprofits such as Spectrum Teen & Youth Center, movie screenings, cooking a community dinner, and more. Participants are required to eat soup kitchen styled dinners in the IDX Dining Hall, as well as partake in nightly reflections conducted by volunteer student leaders. Evening discussions and film screenings are open to the public.

CSCE Work Study, Hannah Andersen '14, and volunteer, Shelby Dickinson '14, hope that this year will be as successful as the last. "In the past we have raised over $2,000 for COTS. 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." Andersen attributed all the changes to staying new and exciting. "The student population is constantly evolving, so we as a committee believe that we evolve with it, it will hopefully stay successful." Anderson also wanted to get out into the community a bit more, so they are doing additional fundraisers through raking leaved for neighbors on the hill surrounding the College.

As stated before, one does not have to sleep out to be involved in the movement, but please support students who do. The schedule for the weekend and registration forms (links) is as follows:

Thursday, Nov. 8:

  • 4:45 p.m. Check in on front lawn of Perry
  • 5:00 p.m. Soup Kitchen style dinner in IDX
  • 8:30 Discussion with Spectrum Youth Center representatives

Friday, Nov. 9:

  • 4:45 p.m. Check in on front lawn of Perry
  • 5:00 p.m. Soup Kitchen style dinner in IDX
  • 6:00 p.m. "Without A Home" movie screening - Alumni Auditorium

Saturday, Nov. 10:

  • 11:30 a.m. presentation from COTS - Hauke Conference Room
  • 12 p.m. Volunteer opportunity at COTS (limited space)

Sunday, Nov. 11:

  • 9:00 a.m. Making Soup for COTS lunch program
  • 2:00 p.m. Community leaf raking fundraiser -
  • 5:00 p.m. Dinner outside on Perry lawn

If you are interested in participating in Tent City or other service events visit learn more about 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