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Campout 2019: Why 1,700 graduate students overran Krzyzewskiville

Braving the elements in Krzyzewskiville for a chance to see the men’s basketball team play in Cameron Indoor Stadium has been a rite of passage for Duke undergraduates for a long time. 

Now, it’s graduate students’ time to join in on the fun.

Spiked seltzer cans galore and overcrowded tents lined the grassy area in front of Cameron this weekend, as about 1,700 Duke graduate students vied for better odds at earning men’s basketball season tickets over a 36-hour period at Campout 2019. Approximately half of campers won the opportunity to purchase season tickets for the 2019-20 campaign through the primary lottery.

“I didn’t know anybody, but everybody’s super friendly,” Andrea Brucculeri, a first-year master’s student studying computational media, said. “It was easy to just run and play and have a good time and the weather was great.”

Eric Wei

Regulated by the Basketball Committee, Campout requires participating graduate students to remain in Krzyzewskiville for random checks, when campers have a 10-minute window to report. Depending on how many checks campers attend, they receive more entries into the primary lottery. An attendance level of 100 percent results in six lottery entries, between 95 and 99 percent results in three entries, between 90 and 94 percent results in two entries, between 80 and 89 percent results in one entry and below 80 percent results in a loss of entries. 

The primary lottery was held Sunday, though those not selected still will have the opportunity to get tickets for individual games or attend games through walk-up line. Graduate students that did not attend Campout are eligible for a secondary lottery with longer odds of receiving student tickets.

While Truly and White Claw—both explicitly referenced in Campout’s official policies—kept everybody in a happy mood, not everything about Campout was glamorous.

“It’s loud all night, they’re waking you up at 6 a.m., 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., so you really can’t sleep, especially since the last check was 2:15 am or something,” Brucculeri, who actually attended North Carolina for her undergraduate studies, said. “Then it got hot and there’s not a lot to do and not a lot of food, and you can tell people are stir crazy. 

“But it’s an experience. You have less than a 50 percent chance of getting the tickets, which, if I overthink it, stresses me out, but then I’m like, ‘No, life’s about the journey, I’m here for the experience. I’m not just here for the tickets, it’s so I can do a Duke thing.’”

Eric Wei

For many of the campers that are new to Duke, Campout certainly was odd, though a true welcome to the Duke community.

“I’m pretty comfortable camping, but the tent gets a little cramped—lots of bodies, lots of heat—but it’s a lot of fun,” Eric Reynolds, a first-year MBA student who graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said. “We made it work.”

Eric Wei

Campout resembles the more recognized tenting practice of Duke undergraduates, which involves students sleeping outdoors for weeks leading up to the Blue Devils’ home game against their bitter rival, North Carolina. The hotly anticipated contest will be held March 7.

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