Tent on the quad to return next week


Emily Dvareckas / The Hawks' Herald

Students dine in the outdoor tent on Sept. 2, 2020. The university plans to bring the tent back to the quad starting April 8 for multipurpose use.

Jimmy Sadowski, Herald Reporter

On April 8, a new outdoor tent will go up on the Commons Quad for the rest of the spring semester. This time around, the space can be utilized for eating and a variety of other activities.

The Student Senate passed a bill allocating funds for the outdoor tent on March 22. The bill noted that a tent for an outdoor seating area for a five-week period will cost approximately $70,000. Student Senate will be allocating up to $10,000 from the Student Senate operating budget toward the cost. Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Programs, Leadership and Orientation (SPLO) Carol Sacchetti said Student Life, SPLO, Student Senate and the Admissions Office are working together to fund the tent.

“The idea for the tent came from a few administrators saying ‘where is that space on campus,’ a space for admissions events, a space for some of the events we want to do,” Sacchetti said. “The tent is going to be used for a variety of events [including] admissions events and meetings with clubs and organizations.”

Dining was the tent’s primary use last fall. This semester, students will still be able to dine in the tent but there will not be any food service or lines like it previously had.

“I think people, especially as it gets nicer out and there is no rain and the weather stays nice, will appreciate not having to eat in their rooms. I know I saw some people eating at those small tables behind GHH,” Sacchetti said. “I think it just gives another option to our students.”

Sophomore Ray Cerro said he liked the idea of a new tent.

“I do like the idea of eating outside,” Cerro said. “I think it’s good to have overflow from Commons [dining in the tent].”

Sacchetti said the physical structure of the tent would be the same as last semester, with lights, clear sides and a floor. Freshman Lauren Alves said she had an issue with the smell inside the tent last semester.

“I thought the tent smelled bad,” Alves said. “The grass underneath was decomposing because of the padding they put on the floor so it created a rancid, barn kind of smell. I like that there is going to be club usage out of the tent but I think they should use different flooring or leave it barren.”

Sacchetti said she will help put out a daily schedule for the tent, which will display events, meetings and free time for students.

“Each day, I’m going to put the schedule out so students know there might be time where there is nothing going on where the tent can be a study space or space for a group project, or it can be a space where students can get their dinner and sit outside and eat together,” Sacchetti said. “As a student you like to know, ‘ok, can I go in here or not go in here?’”

Because the tent will have lights under it, Sacchetti said meetings will be able to happen at night. Groups that want to utilize the tent for an event or meeting will have to schedule a time they want to use it. Students will be able to fill out a reservation form that goes to Sacchetti and another campus administrator, who will then schedule the tent out.

Sophomore Cole Wolkner said he hopes the putting the tent back up goes as well as the university wants it to.

“I’m sure they have some reason for wanting to put up a tent in the first place, like clubs, and thinking on it now I feel like there are definitely clubs that can use that space,” Wolkner said. “It definitely seems like a useful space for the right club if they are looking for some way to meet but they really can’t because of COVID or they just want a change of pace from meeting on Zoom every day. I definitely see where the tent could be useful. I just hope that the people that it’s there for find it as useful as I feel like it is in theory.”

Sacchetti said she is hopeful as well.

“I’m hopeful students will utilize the space for different reasons,” Sacchetti said. “I hope a schedule outside posted each day will let students at least know when they can use it.”