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Duke HRL introduces new TentEx program to address housing shortage


In addition to placing DKU students on East Campus and creating new beds in existing dorms, Duke Housing and Residence Life will address the current housing shortage by implementing the new TentEx program, according to a statement released today by the HRL office.

The hallmark of the TentEx system is the expansion of the ever-popular tenting tradition to be year-round and completely mandatory. Students without a housing assignment who still wish to live on-campus will be assigned to one of the many open areas on campus, where they will be given a six-by-six patch of land to set up a tent. Fields used for TentEx will include K-Ville, the LSRC courtyard, and Abele Quad, which will likely fill up faster than spots like Blue Zone, where students will be required to move their tents for football games. According to HRL, this new housing option provides a variety of benefits for students, such as being closer to classrooms and libraries, making sure each resident gets plenty of fresh air, and promoting a better sleep schedule by getting rid of the ability to ignore the sun in the morning.

“Logistically speaking, the transition will be nearly effortless”, said a representative from HRL in an interview. “Line monitors will be retrained as RAs, which really only involves taking away their sirens. Students have provided their own tents in the past, so we’re likely to continue that program, which will increase student freedom. We can also keep charging normal prices to keep it equitable.”

The decision to expand tenting to be year-round was largely based on repeated claims by tenters that it’s actually fun, and that it isn’t a ridiculous and sadistic way to distribute basketball tickets. “According to people who tent, the time you spend in the tent is actually almost more fun than the game and is completely worth the hit you take to your academics, extracurriculars, job hunt, social life, mental health, and physical well-being,” the representative told us. “Since the joy of the tradition comes from the tent itself, we thought it was a great way to spread cheer all around campus and finally provide students with the year-round tenting experience they crave. We’ve even improved it by taking away the distraction of the basketball tickets, to let students fully engage in their tenting communities.”

Members of selective living groups have been particularly excited about the change, with many hailing it as a much-needed breath of new life for their organizations. We spoke to Liv Neerme, an SLG member and advocate who requested to remain anonymous. “We were all upset when QuadEx took away our section housing and ability to recruit, and we weren’t sure whether our organization was going to survive the change. With TentEx, even though we aren’t classified as living groups anymore, we can all live together in the Washington Duke golf course. All we have to do now is move our tents close to each other, and it’ll be just like old times! Plus, the tents are bigger than our old rooms in Edens.”

Additional changes have come with TentEx, including the introduction of the new FLEEP program in partnership with the Office of Undergraduate Education. The FLEEP program is designed to encourage student-faculty interaction outside the classroom by requiring a few lucky students to couch-surf with each of their professors for up to three weeks, leaving those students with no need for a housing assignment. Faculty will be expected to provide food to their residents in the absence of a dining plan, as well as transportation. To offset these costs, they will receive a full 8% of the rent students pay. HRL has been promoting the program with posters and banners around campus that read “Get ready to FLEEP with your professors!”.

According to an inside source, HRL considered a variety of alternative solutions to address the housing shortage before settling on the TentEx program. One scrapped concept was to hang hammocks from the Chapel, which was deemed to add too much cost to HRL’s wrath-of-angered-god insurance. Another idea was to double the capacity of rooms by having students share bunk beds, which was shot down because nobody can figure out how to change the height of the beds. Some ideas that weren’t seriously entertained include building a new residence hall, investing in off-campus housing, or ending the practice of over-admitting freshmen every year with absolutely no regard for potential repercussions.

Monday Monday reached out to the president’s office for a comment, and was told that the person in charge was too busy walking his dogs to respond. However, they were kind enough to give us a Choose Your Own Administrative Response book authored by the University itself, stating that it would have all the information we needed. After flipping to page 68 for ‘problems that have already been solved’, forward to 112 for ‘housing, landscaping, and furniture issues’, then all the way back to page 32 for ‘shortage induced by overenrollment/natural disaster/other’, the official response read “I fully support the new plan put in place by our wonderful HRL office to address the recent shortage. I’m confident that Duke can handle any obstacle, and this overenrollment / mold outbreak / gas explosion / organized squirrel rebellion / other is no exception. The quick response to this unprecedented housing event is truly magnificent, and I’m proud to have been such an involved part of the process.”

The weekend is over, and Monday Monday is back with a vengeance.


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