Homecoming tent follows development in Doha

This year’s Homecoming celebration was truly spectacular — and there was a tent to stand testament.

Although a tent in name, the structure erected on the CFA Lawn last week demonstrated amazing architectural technology that was seemingly almost as complicated as an actual building. The tent was brought in to commemorate the B There celebration, Carnegie Mellon’s capital campaign kickoff to raise $1 billion.

Yet the tent itself is big news. Construction began last Monday for Friday’s B There event. Students walked to classes amidst the white frames of the enormous tent being laid out on the lawn. As the week wore on, the tent began to materialize with transparent walls, a clear roof, doors with hinges, generators, and even a built-in air conditioning unit.

The tent shows that the university took Homecoming seriously.

Moreover, it reflects international tenting trends. Beyond being used at weddings and shows, tents are being used as affordable and practical semi-permanent housing.

In Canada, the Homeless Services Area, more commonly known as Tent City, is a city of simple tent residences erected in July 2007 to deal with the growing homeless population. In earthquake-ridden China, thousands of tents were set up in early October to house people who had lost their homes.

There is no place that has revolutionized tenting more, though, than the Middle East.

In Dubai, the construction of hotels and man-made islands on the Gulf Coast necessitated housing for thousands of workers. The same is true in Doha. Tenting has satisfied this need.

Tents have also served as elaborate sites for times like Ramadan, with capacities for hundreds of people, impressive views of the Gulf, and, quite importantly for the climate, air conditioning.

With a campus in Doha, Carnegie Mellon has a unique view of the tenting technology race. Hopefully, on-campus tents will continue to show off the university’s technology awareness, as well as highlight its alumni events, which, as evidenced by Homecoming, are truly worthy of our school pride.