Big 12 Sports Articles

HCS Op-Ed: From Mario Kart to Skin Pinning, Two WVU Students Look Inside “Tent City”

By: Lindsay DeTroia

The school spirit at West Virginia University is unlike any other school.  Don’t believe me? Well, what other student body sets up a make shift camping ground behind their student center in anticipation for ESPN’s College Game Day?

Following last weekend’s announcement that College Game Day would be coming to Morgantown, four students starting setting up tents on Sunday to prepare the WVU versus TCU showdown.

The students dubbed the name “Tent City.” By Friday morning it consisted of over 250 tents. It became a huge joke around the entire school. “Hey, are you going to Tent City later to chill?” or “Want to go to Tent City before we go out tonight?”

Anyone who wanted to set up a tent was given a tag with a number on it that indicated your spot. There was one student in particular who was running the show and giving out the tags. They called him “The Mayor.” I even had one friend who told me that when he went to set up a tent, he asked someone how to get a tag and was told to “Go see the mayor, he’s in charge here.” Pretty hilarious.

The typical day of a Tent City resident consisted of waking up with back pain from sleeping on concrete, lounging around in folding chairs, blasting music, and playing football and corn hole. Of course, going to class was a priority; so students took turns heading to classes, while others would watch the tent. As was shown on TV many times, some students hooked up televisions to outdoor outlets to get in their video game fix.

As for the crazy and bizarre: one time I witnessed a bunch of people gathered around to watch a student put a “Beat TCU” pin through the skin in his chest.  Yes, he skipped the whole shirt thing.

There were visits from Dana Holgerson and President Gordon Gee. Holgerson walked around with free pizza on Friday afternoon. President Gee also brought all the students hot soup from Panera Bread.

Despite the riots that took place in Morgantown two weekends ago when the football team beat #4 Baylor, the town was extremely lenient about the situation. Instead of squashing the entire event, the police stood by just to make sure nothing got out of hand. There was support from all over, including the student union, who offered free hot chocolate to Tent City early one cold morning.

There was even a twitter account created on behalf of Tent City. Some of the tweets were very funny. “Tent City to host 2020 Olympic Games.” “Tent City just signed the Declaration of Tentdependance.” “Breaking news: Tent City discovers cure for Ebola.”

There is now talk of making Tent City a tradition for big football games in the coming seasons. After what I saw last weekend, I wouldn’t mind that one bit.


By: Reghan Bailey

Tent City was West Virginia University’s latest “craze.” After students found out about College GameDay coming to Morgantown this past weekend, students started pitching tents on the Mountainlair Green on Sunday afternoon. Once it caught on, it spread like wildfire, and the number of tents and student count continued to grow; the final tent count was 231.

Monday morning the Mountainlair Green was “renamed” Tent City for the remainder of the week due. This was courtesy of the Twitter account, @WVU_TentCity, made by sophomore student, Eric Keller. “I thought it would be a cool way to get the football team involved with students; I never thought it would catch on like this,” said Keller.

Keller and his friends pitched a tent on Sunday evening to get involved in the action at Tent City. “This was a way for students to forget about class and have fun for the week,” Keller said. Student brought up TVs, Xbox’s, Nintendo’s, and stereo systems; some even went to the extremes of having kegs in their tents. It essentially became a week long tailgate! On Friday evening when College GameDay cast member David Pollock arrived, he decided to take on a group of students at Mario Kart on Nintendo 64.

As a fun way to get more students and players involved, Keller decided to hold an election for President of Tent City. Keller wanted to see the reactions and responses from players. Some popular players such as Josh Lambert and Nick O’Toole responded quite often, which resulted in the nomination for offices. The candidates were chosen through retweets, bringing Josh Lambert out on top for Presidency. “The people of Tent City fueled the election,” Keller said.

Some other interactions included: good tent vs. bad tent of the day, popular song lyrics/sayings students around campus knew, and bringing in certain games and contests. The President of the University, E. Gordon Gee, even got involved by bringing the Panera to the “citizens” of Tent City. Towards the end of the week The Daily Athenaeum, WVU’s student newspaper, also provided breakfast for Tent City.

What is the future of Tent City? President Gee told Keller how much he loved the interaction the Twitter account was bringing in. This created a fun, positive atmosphere for students to find a way to come together with the players and create a new definition of school spirit. President Gee plans to make this a tradition every Mountaineer Week to prepare for a big game. As for the Twitter account, Keller plans to continue to tweet often to keep it going, keep students involved, and to keep the people of Tent City entertained.



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