Tents to rent around campus

Outdoor campus spaces provide safe areas for classes and gatherings

September 22, 2020

Campus Life

The University of Richmond is offering 12 tents throughout campus for faculty and students to safely gather while abiding physical distancing protocols. The tents must be reserved in advance, but other non-tented outdoor locations are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

“I think the entire campus was excited and looking forward to using the tents,” said Liz Buehler, the assistant director for events, conferences and support services. “They’re great for Dining Services to have additional seating capacity. Professors like to get outside, and the tents are perfect for a class. Students are eager to start meeting and bonding, and they need places to go.” The tents are expected to be in use until Nov. 20.

The open-air tents include chairs, tables, and lighting, and can accommodate 50 people or fewer. Locations include the patio and tower at Boatwright Library, the Forum, the International Education courtyard, the intramural fields' basketball courts and the Richmond College tennis courts. The Tyler Haynes Common’s patios are also being used, as well as the patios at Lou’s, the Moody patio at the law school, the Queally Center courtyard, and Stern Plaza.

Dining Services takes priority during mealtimes at certain tent and outdoor locations, such as the Forum and the Boatwright Library patio, followed by class instruction and other uses, which include meetings for student-run organizations. Additional non-tented outdoor locations include the Gottwald Science Center patio, North Court courtyard, and the Sarah Brunet Hall patio.

“Being able to interact with the students in the relaxing outdoors without depending on technology is a wonderful treat that keeps me going in my technologically dependent classes,” said Kelly Lambert, a behavioral neuroscientist who has used the Queally Courtyard tent for her psychology seminar class.

“When you’re teaching in a pandemic, you try to find as many connections and opportunities as possible to enhance our adaptations to the crisis,” Lambert said, “I guess this semester is a perfect time to teach a course on adaptive behavior.”

Those interested in reserving a tent can do so seven days in advance and up to 30 minutes prior to the start of a meeting, but regularly recurring reservations for classes are not permitted.

The current protocols are in accordance with the University’s red stage of the Physical Distancing Framework, and once campus reaches the orange stage, the tents will be able to accommodate more people, Buehler said.