Taking down the tent for winter break. (Northern Review photos/Harleigh Bellmann)

In the quest to reopen campus after the COVID-19 shutdown, ONU has rolled out many initiatives to minimize the risk while creating a fairly normal environment. While some of these ideas have led to fairly unique changes, perhaps the most interesting has been the tent on the tundra.

While it is a fair assumption that most campus groups can do business through video chats and email, some meetings and events must happen physically. In the effort to maximize distance, the amount of people allowed in a single location was greatly reduced. For example, the largest room in Raabe College of Pharmacy, RE 151 has built in seats for 250, but under the new guidelines is only allowed 55. Meyer 107 now allows 39, and the Dicke Forum holds 48.

While most organizations would fit under these requirements, they are also some of the largest venues on campus, and they cannot accommodate the easy accessibility some events require. The ideal solution for this problem would be open air, easy to clean, and ‘freely accessible’ to the general student body. This is why the tent on the tundra exists. The tundra was a perfect place to set such an amenity up due to its fairly large and empty space.

So far in this semester, the tent has hosted SPC events like bingo and craft night, gave the space for the Throw Throw Burrito Tournament, and became the base for Phi Mudder Bingo. On November 11, it also hosted the Veteran’s Day Wreath-Laying Ceremony to honor our veterans.

One student who’s taken advantage of the tent’s inclusion is Rebekah Lee. She’s been overjoyed to see a number of organizations and events using the tent this year, but a particular favorite was the yoga class that convened there. “The typical classroom could be very stuffy and hot last year, and the lighting always had a strange green tint to it.” She felt that environment wasn’t the most conducive for calming down. “[B]eing outside while doing yoga really helps one to relax into the activity and let all of the stress of school go.”

On the subject of the tent’s continued existence, Rebekah had this to say, “I would like to see the school keep the tent on a permanent basis. I don’t think it will get as much use once we are no longer dealing with a pandemic, but I think some activities will remain outside under the tent when the weather is nice.” Overall, the tent is certainly one COVID-19 accommodation that could be a welcomed permanent addition to the campus.

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