In each of the six Novembers I have taught at Bridgewater State University, a small but growing band of students have lived in tents for five nights. It’s part of the International Tent City program, designed to raise awareness of homelessness and simulate the tent cities homeless people live in throughout the world.
Some students spend a night in the tents for extra credit in a class; others spend all five nights (and last week, when this year’s event was held, that was pretty hearty given temperatures that dipped below freezing). The program has become so popular in its six years I heard unconfirmed reports of alumni coming back to spend a night or two in the awareness-raising event.
The timing of this Pete Earley post on his decision to not spend time pretending to be homeless and write a book about the experience contrasts nicely with Tent City at Bridgewater State. Book publishers have loved this idea ever since George Plimpton suited up to train with the Detroit Lions and write Paper Lion. It can be entertaining reading, but it doesn’t get to the heart of the experience. Continue Reading »