By Mary Kate Conner
Music blaring, grills flaming, free drinks flowing – that is Tent City, otherwise known as Georgia College’s biggest tailgate. It is a time for students and alumni to come together and share in their Bobcat pride just before the big games. The all-day event has been a GC Homecoming Week tradition for years.
The current president of Thunder Crew, Angie Moryan, said the event is a great way to show school spirit and unity as a GC community.
“The whole school can come together, party together, and just be Bobcats,” Moryan said. “It allows people to see what is possible if all the organizations partner together in support of athletics.”
However, there is a thorn in the side of all the festivities. In years past, underage drinking was a component of the event that was largely disregarded. Everyone drank freely and openly, regardless of the law or University policy. The repercussions of this hit Central Campus residence halls especially hard.
Colin Sasso, a junior CA in Wells Hall, said that last year it was difficult to monitor who belonged in Wells and who did not, as it was so close to the activities and was used frequently as a restroom.
“There was a lot of vandalism, people running around, tearing down door decks,” Sasso said of last year’s chaos. “It was probably one of the worst nights we’ve had in Wells.”
This year, the University took a step towards regulating drinking by giving wristbands to organizations to be passed out to members 21 and older. Anyone without a wristband seen drinking could be confronted by Public Safety. Dr. Andy Lewter, Dean of Students, said the measure was taken in order to further student safety and curb underage drinking.
“Those concerns [about students’ safety] have led us to look at different ways to have an impact on underage drinking during Homecoming,” Lewter said.
Matthew Terry, Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications of University Housing, was confident that Public Safety, SNAP and the CA staff would maintain minimal impact on the residence halls this year.
“It’s really a full campus effort to make sure that happens,” Terry said.
He also agreed that with wristbands, it should be easy to identify who should or should not be handling alcohol, especially in the dorms. With new policies added, Terry had high hopes for this year’s events.
“We have a very responsible community, and student body, and very qualified campus staff,” Terry said. “Everybody works together to make sure these events happen in a safe environment while still allowing it to be very fun for the community.”
Overall, Tent City activities did not seem to have the same negative impact on the campus or on residence halls as in years past. Following Saturday’s midnight rounds, a CA on duty reported no serious incidents. If the wristbands have proven a successful policy, it remains to be seen what additional policies may be added in the future to further student safety and campus order.