Grad student campout: Like K-ville, but shorter

Graduate students sprawled out in tents, on air mattresses and in the backs of rental trucks in the Blue Zone parking lots from Friday evening to Sunday morning for the Men's Basketball Ticket Campout, hosted by the Graduate and Professional Student Council.

Students camped for 36 hours in order to enter a lottery for ticket cards allowing entry for all men's home games.

Each student paid a $5 entry fee and reported to random roll calls throughout the event. Students who missed no more than one roll call were eligible for lottery assignments of the $150 cards.

As part of the campout, President Richard Brodhead addressed the crowd Saturday afternoon.

He shared his own graduate school experience and stressed the importance of the graduate student and wider Duke communities.

"I hope you come back here for many years, and I hope you make enough roll calls to be admitted to a game," he said.

Following Brodhead, Tia Jackson, assistant coach for the women's basketball team, and players Jessica Foley and Mistie Williams spoke about the attendance gap between the men's and women's teams and encouraged campers to come to more women's games.

Although the campout focused on basketball, charitable causes also played an important role. Students had to bring at least one canned food item with their $5 registration fee.

Some campers participated in other community service projects. Items ranging from "behind-the-scenes tours" of Cameron Indoor Stadium to basketballs signed by men's head coach Mike Krzyzewski and players Shelden Williams and J. J. Redick were raffled off to benefit the Emily Krzyzewski Family LIFE Center, located in west Durham.

"So much of it is about the community and getting to know people you wouldn't otherwise meet," said Jonathan Bird, a second-year graduate student in history.

The students' most popular pastimes were Texas Hold 'Em and beer pong. But campers also played sports and board games, while others studied and graded papers.

The morale of the campout "ebbs and flows with the day," said Brian Holladay, a checker at the roll call tent and third-year law student. "[The weather has] been cool, so I think that helps."

Some students downplayed the social aspect of the campout. One camper said he tolerated a "weekend of hell" only because the games were so good.

"Have you been to Cameron?" said Gordon Mantler, a fourth-year graduate student in history. "That's why we're all here."

Entry in the lottery does not guarantee students a ticket card.

Campers who do not receive a card in this year's lottery can return next year and will be granted a triple stake in the lottery instead of the single stake granted to all others.


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