The Grove saw a new addition during the first home game of the 2013 Ole Miss football season with the introduction of Everybody’s Tent.
Everybody’s Tent was an idea organized and sponsored by the Associated Student Body. Positioned in the Grove in front of the Student Union, the tent was open to anyone who did not have their own tent to go to on Saturday. The ASB supplied food, non-alcoholic beverages and seating for all who were interested.
“Everyone’s Tent is primarily for students who don’t tailgate anywhere else in the Grove,” said Gregory Alston, president of the ASB.
William Fowler, director of Everybody’s Tent, came up with the idea during Alston’s campaign knowing it would be a great opportunity for wandering Grove-goers to go and meet each other as well as get out of the hot sun.
“The Tent was a good success,” Fowler said. “We had about 600 people show up, all from different walks of life.”
Among these visitors were parents, family, faculty and alumni. Athletics Director Ross Bjork also made an appearance, along with Brandi Hephner-Labanc, vice chancellor for student affairs.
Fowler said he pitched the idea to the ASB cabinet, explaining that it was a sort of continuation of something he was a part of in years past at the Southern studies tent. He made an effort to broaden the scope in hopes of attracting a larger number of students.
The tent attracted many families who are new to the Grove as well as international students who have never been to the United States, much less an Ole Miss football game.
Assistant Dean of Students Scott Wallace also played a vital role in Everybody’s Tent. As the faculty adviser to the Associated Student Body, he was present to advise and plan the stages of preparing and executing the tent.
“What a success,” Wallace said. “It was a wonderful initiative and the students did an unbelievable job of planning.”
Alston has big plans for Everybody’s Tent, given the success of its first appearance. It will be present at three more home games this year: Oct. 12 vs. Texas A&M, Oct. 26 vs. Idaho and Nov. 15 vs. Troy, with the format staying the same.
Alston also holds out hope that it will continue after he graduates and will become another tradition to add to the rich history of The University of Mississippi.