Camp-out enjoys major success

Jessica May

Although the SGA camp-out has come and gone, the events of the night are still fresh on the minds of the dedicated fans who braved the cold and long hours in support of their team. SGA President John Von Euw and Vice President Dave Pedra were on the forefront of the intensive planning and organization of the 18-hour event that took place on Nov. 17.

In addition to the preparation, one of the most vital and anticipated parts of the evening lay in revealing the secret camp-out site. Von Euw said that there were various locations throughout campus that were considered for the camp-out, such as Mendel Field, Sheehan Beach, Pike Lot and the football field.

He also mentioned the important role that members of the administration played in facilitating the event and controlling the crowd throughout the night.

“The Athletics Department suggested the lower floor of SAC lot, mainly due to the fact that it was confined and easily monitored,” Von Euw said. “Not to mention it would shelter everyone in case of extreme weather.”

Of course, students had their own opinions concerning where the camp-out would be, and Von Euw admitted that, “A lot of people guessed correctly.”

At 6:45 p.m. two Web sites broadcasted the highly-anticipated information that Gate 4 of the football stadium was the hidden destination for the basketball fans.  Around 8:15 p.m., the crowd was moved from the football field to the SAC parking lot for the remainder of the night.

Von Euw described the scene as frantic, but he noted the successful efforts of SGA members and campus security in maintaining a composed environment.

“It was a little chaotic, but the amount of chaos was controlled,” Von Euw said. “Basically, any time you have over 1,000 people, you kind of expect chaos, but it was managed well.

Von Euw reported that no injuries occurred at any point during the camp-out.

Some students, however, did not share the same sentiment. Senior Julia Kalloz said that for the most part, the camp-out was well-managed; however, she also said that during the rush, her knee hit the ground after tripping over someone’s rolling luggage. Kalloz described her injury as “insignificant,” but that the principle of the matter was more important.

“There was serious potential for injury,” Kalloz said. “The school is lucky no one got hurt. The security outside of the stadium was inadequate in controlling that amount of people. Tom Mogan alone cannot hold back a rushing group of 1,000 people.”

Although many were skeptical about the relatively small number of provisional tickets, the outcome of the evening surprised members of SGA – only two students left the camp-out.

While the Saint Joe’s package went faster, the Notre Dame package was close behind because many ‘Nova fans think the game will be a better competition.

In order to make the event as comfortable and as fun as possible, various vendors from around campus offered their services as the night continued. Many of the entrepreneurial groups were present, such as the Rally Scarf, Big and Cheesy, Wild Towel and Wild Threads. More notably, the Cambodian mission trip provided food and drinks for weary campers until 2 a.m. and breakfast only hours later.

SGA provided live feed from the men’s basketball game in the Virgin Islands against the College of Charleston in the Paradise Jam tournament and showed last season’s memorable UConn game at the Wachovia Center.

There were also special messages from Head Coach Jay Wright and senior players Will Sheridan and Ross Condon.

One major complaint students had about the camp-out format was that the Web sites used to broadcast the location of the event did not display the information simultaneously – released the location before

Von Euw explained the complications.

“The [] Web site doesn’t update instantly,” Von Euw said. “Instead, it updates every five minutes – which is why we tried to push the, which updates on a shorter time period.  It was more of a

technical difficulty than anything else.”

The camp-out was featured on three local news channels, which gave audiences a preview of the level of excitement and dedication that ‘Nova fans are going to show this year. Overall, SGA has received positive feedback concerning the outcome and overall organization of the camp-out.

“Now that we have this behind us and we are wrapping it up, we can look forward to our plans for next year,” Pedra said. “We have many more resources as well as time than we did at the beginning of the year.”

Von Euw and Pedra said that when considering the next option for the lottery system, they want to make sure the students will be given the opportunity to voice their opinions before Von Euw and Pedra make a final decision. Plans are already in the works for next year’s ticket distribution system. Given limited time and resources, Von Euw and Pedra deemed the camp-out “a short-term solution” for a problem that they hope will be permanently fixed as soon as next February.