- Published on Monday, 30 April 2012 13:53
- Written by Alexandra Nagel
UCT students camp on Upper campus as a unique "studying" technique.
Three first year students found a way to get ahead of their heavy workloads and simultaneously took Remember And Give (RAG)’s list of 101 things to do at UCT to another level– by staging a first ever “Homeless Week” at UCT’s Upper Campus from the April 16th to 18th.
Brett Thomson, Feargus Kelly and Anthony Balladon baffled onlookers by arriving at Upper Campus on a Monday morning carrying clothes bags and a mattress, with the intention of staying on Upper Campus for 72 hours.
The trio revealed that their decision to do “H-Week” was very “spontaneous”, and without any research into the legality or implications of their actions.
“We just dived in!” said Thomson, a Varietas resident studying a Bachelor of Arts degree.
“The rules we set ourselves were that we couldn’t leave Upper Campus until Wednesday, after our last lecture at 5pm. We weren’t allowed to take money or food with us onto campus,” continues Thomson.
“We also set up a blog, badhumans.tumblr.com, to share our experiences of “H-week”, which we updated every hour with photo’s and video clips,” he added.
The students decided to go ahead with “H-week” because of their heavy workloads, claiming the many “distractions” of residence life made it “hard to study”.
The first night saw the trio ejected from their library study base.
“They were suspicious of my mattress, so we left and found shelter in a Leslie Social Building classroom,” said Thomson.
“Luckily we had lots of work to do which stopped us from being bored,” said Thomson.
“And we really did work!” Kelly adds.
“But at about 12.30pm the Campus Protection Service (CPS) kicked us out. We had nowhere to go except Jammie Steps,” Thomson said, “It was so cold that we lit a little fire with leaves and match sticks for warmth. We eventually found a place to sleep in Leslie, but it was very uncomfortable”.
With nothing to eat all day and another rough night ahead, Tuesday proved to be “a bad experience”.
“At 3pm, someone gave us a sack of popcorn and then another student, who’d heard about us through our blog, donated us a six-pack of beer and a steak. That saved us for the day!” said Thomson.
“Some Fuller girls also gave us sandwiches!” said Kelly.
“Before this experience we had always taken UCT res food utility, Fedics, for granted,” Thomson added.
Tuesday night saw the Arts Block provide another work and sleep venue for Thomson, Kelly and Balladon. However, CPS arrived at around 3am.
“Because we were so tired and disorientated, we thought the CPS torches were actually [Lord’s Resistance Army leader] Joseph Kony’s soldiers looking for us!” said Thomson.
Their final night ended with a ‘Jammie Sunrise’ on Wednesday morning at the Rhodes Memorial Statue, the “only place where it wasn’t too much wind.”
The group’s “H-week” experience ended that evening as planned.
“It was nice to have a definite place to sleep,” Balladon said, who stays in Smuts Hall.
“We had to stick it through, because by Tuesday we had got a few hundred followers,” Thomson said, “People had become interested in our alternative experience of UCT, so we couldn’t let them down.”
“We would call ourselves pioneers of the ultimate UCT experience,” Balladon added.
Their social media blogspot, Badhumans, now has 1177 followers.
“What they did was awesome, they’re absolute champs,” said 1st year Josh Nott.
Arnesh Chetty, Thomson’s 2nd year flatmate in Varietas said that they’re just crazy and that something like this has never been heard of before.
“At first people thought we wouldn’t do it, or we wouldn’t finish what we set out to do,” Balladon said.
“People who followed our blog really enjoyed our stories and were BBM’ing us incessantly about it,” said Kelly.
Badhumans is planning more “fun and crazy things” in order to keep eager fans entertained.
“After all,” the group revealed, “there’re still 20 things on RAG’s 101 list that we still haven’t done!”