Herb Your Enthusiasm for Under the Tent

Fordham’s “most anticipated” event proved to not to be a night to remember



The “Under the Tent” event failed to inspire much enthusiasm in Fordham students.


Hosted by Fordham Rose Hill’s (FRH) Resident Housing Association (RHA), the annual Under the Tent event is an exciting time for many. Students have the opportunity to dress in ball gowns and suits and dance the night away with their peers on Martyrs’ Lawn. This year’s theme was “Garden of Versailles,” with attendees encouraged to wear their finest attire. 

Since its founding in 2012, Under the Tent has featured themes such as “Ancient Greece” in 2013 and “A Night in the Emerald City” in 2021. As the usual last event of the spring semester, students flock to buy their tickets for one last opportunity to spend time with their peers before the end of the school year. The event is so popular that in 2021, anticipated ticket sales lead to a staggered sale similar to class registration, allowing seniors to purchase their tickets first. Additionally, ticket sales had an online waiting room and there was a limit of two tickets per transaction

As a Fordham Lincoln Center (FLC) student, I did not hear about Under the Tent or see any advertisements for it. In fact, I only found out about it from a friend, who learned about the event from a Rose Hill student in her philosophy class. Others around me also had no idea about the event, which is unsurprising since it was hardly advertised on Lincoln Center’s campus or on LC-based social media pages. 

I was thrilled to have an excuse to dress up in a formal manner outside of the daily fashion show that is living at Lincoln Center. My friend and I made the last-minute decision to attend and decided on our outfits, wondering if others would even follow the dress code, seeing as the fashion cultures on each campus are vastly different. At FLC, students are always dressed to impress and often sport eclectic sneakers, leather jackets or designer accessories. Rose Hill students, on the other hand, walk around their campus adorned in spirit gear and sweatpants. We decided to go “full-send” and wore ’90s-esque silk dresses with coordinating accessories and sneakers just in case the other attendees didn’t follow the formal dress code. 

As someone who didn’t experience a prom, I was excited to attend my first college formal, ready to dance and interact with my peers while making lasting memories. We took pictures in Central Park, finessing a free bike-drawn carriage on the way to the fountain and asking tourists to take our pictures. As we walked back to campus to catch the Ram Van, we eagerly chatted about what kind of music would play and how Rose Hill students would react to our attendance. On the Ram Van ride to Rose Hill, my mind raced about what was to come; however, upon arrival, I was met with disappointment. 

Our main mistake was arriving on time: As we entered at 9:00 p.m., we were met with a student-run band warming up and a small group of students standing in circles paying no attention to the music and instead trying to ignore the awkwardness in the air. The band delayed the beginning of their set until the tent filled in, making awkward banter into the mic and playing random melodies.

I clung to the knowledge that my ticket cost $35, hoping that as more people entered the tent the party animals would emerge. However, this was not the case. I falsely figured that attendees would be eager to talk to others and celebrate the approaching end to the school year. Yet, for most of the night, my friend and I ended up clinging to the few other FLC students we could find, some sitting on couch cushions and others eating hors d’oeuvres, which included cold mozzarella sticks.

It also didn’t help that the temperature was in the 60s that night and the tent contained no heaters. As girls who prefer warm weather, my friend and I tried to flee to Keating Hall to seek a bathroom and warmth. We quickly realized the only other tent opening led to a gated-in Porta Potty oasis accompanied by staring security personnel. I glared with jealousy at those who were smart enough to bring jackets and tried to distract myself by tuning into the band. 

The dance floor started filling in around 10:15 p.m., but instead of hosting a mosh pit, students stood facing their friends and swaying to the rhythm. A redeeming factor was when one band played “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers, prompting an energetic singalong. But upon the song’s conclusion, students promptly went back to their conversations. At one point my friend and I took to the dance floor, swaying to the rhythm under the pastel lights while looking around. 

It was said that Under the Tent was Rose Hill’s “most anticipated event of the year,” yet it seemed like few were truly enjoying the night.

Where was the rumored display of excitement? It was said that Under the Tent was Rose Hill’s “most anticipated event of the year,” yet it seemed like few were truly enjoying the night. A DJ may have been better at hyping up the crowd. 

My friend and I ended up leaving early and taking the midnight Ram Van home with the same group of friends we had initially met up with. As we trekked from Martyrs’ Lawn to the Ram Van office, we grumbled over our lack of fun while simultaneously trying to retrace our steps and avoid getting lost. 

My expectations for Under the Tent were a lot higher than they should’ve been: It was a lot more like a school dance than I thought it would be. I should’ve known better — it’s not like Fordham is known for its extensive party culture, especially as a Jesuit University. As a matter of fact, in 2013, Fordham was declared the seventh-worst party school in the United States by Complex Magazine. It’s no wonder Rose Hill and Lincoln Center students tend to take part in the nightlife outside of their gated campuses, as there’s never much amusement to be found within their sheltered havens. 

No one wants to take a 40-minute trip to Rose Hill to be met with disappointment when they easily could take part in the social life around Manhattan with a commute that is a fraction of the time.

I also didn’t get the chance to make new friends at Rose Hill. It’s intimidating enough to attend FRH events as an FLC student, but Under the Tent confirmed for me why we often skip out on them. No one wants to take a 40-minute trip to Rose Hill to be met with disappointment when they easily could take part in the social life around Manhattan with a commute that is a fraction of the time. 

Rose Hill students are eager to interact with FLC students if approached for directions, yet in social settings, most tend to stick to their familiar friends. There was a lack of unity under the tent, with most people hesitant to stray away from those they regularly interact with on campus. 

Ultimately, if you want to live out your formal fantasies, my suggestion is to thrift an outfit from the Goodwill on West 72nd St. and dance on the Plaza with your friends for free. Maybe get a halal cart dinner first and eat it on the steps of Lowenstein in your fancy fits. It would easily save you money and disappointment from a flop of a night.