Frequently Asked Questions about Campus Life

Our philosophy is "Say yes whenever possible," and "Yes!" is the short answer to most questions. Students' safety and happiness are the top two priorities (in that order). Read on for details, and if your particular question isn't answered, feel free to contact us.

Food & Dining

Are vegetarian/vegan meals available?

Yes, vegetarian and vegan meals are always available in the dining hall.

I have a special dietary restriction. Is appropriate food provided? (e.g. nut allergies, kosher)

Yes, of course. The availability of special meals in the dining hall varies as the camp moves from year to year. However, all modern campuses can offer allergen-free meals, and students with dietary restrictions (from mild intolerance to severe allergy) will be invited to sit down with the dining hall staff at the beginning of the program to make sure their needs will be met, both in the dining hall and when taking boxed lunches on field trips. Even when special meals cannot be arranged through the dining hall, Mathcamp has always been able to accommodate all of our students' dietary restrictions, including students who keep strictly kosher. Please contact us for further information.

What if camp overlaps with Ramadan or Tisha B'Av?

Of course, we will support students who are fasting during the program! While the dining hall has set meal hours, if you need to break your fast outside of those hours, we will plan in advance to accommodate your schedule.

Are there kitchens in the dorms?

Yes! Cooking and baking are popular evening and weekend activities at camp, and both students and staff will organize events. You're also welcome to keep your own food in the kitchen for a break from the dining hall or a late-night snack.

The Dorms

What kind of rooms are students housed in?

In 2024, we will live in Smith and Oppenheimer at Puget Sound. The campers will live in doubles (with a few singles). When registering for camp, students can request a single room, and we do our very best to honor requests, especially for medical reasons. If you would like a roommate and you're nervous about it, don't hesitate to talk with us! We are happy to help you connect with a roommate who would be a kind and welcoming peer.

Students placed together in doubles are approximately of the same age. Students who know each other prior to arriving at Mathcamp may request to be roommates.

Are the rooms for girls and boys on the same floor?

We offer all-girls, all-boys, and all-gender housing at camp. Depending on the exact layout of our dormitories, these areas may be on separate floors, on different areas of the same level, or in different buildings. Students are assigned to housing by the gender identity they indicate on the housing form; for trans and non-binary students, we will be sure to choose residential advisors and roommates who will be a good fit, and offer the option of a single if the student prefers.

Are there laundry facilities in the dorms?

Yes. Mathcamp will supply laundry detergent and anti-static sheets. Laundry is free!

Are bed linens and towels provided?

Mathcamp always provides pillows and blankets. In 2024, students should bring their own bed sheets, pillowcases, and towels. The beds in the dorm are twin extra long; if you already have x-long fitted sheets, then bring them. Regular twin sheets will work, too (so you don't have to go out and buy new sheets to come to Mathcamp).

Is there internet access?

Yes, there is free (and fast) wireless internet in the dormitory. (We couldn't live without it.)

Camp Culture

How do names and nicknames work at camp?

Everybody at camp (even the faculty!) is on a first-name basis, and we will always call you by your preferred name and pronouns.

Are there camp traditions?

Indeed there are. The alumni who return as campers (and staff!) help pass on both camp culture and the particular activities that recur each year. (For example: the Mathcamp alma mater, Nonabelian, is the closing of the Talent Show every summer.) And campers start new traditions, too!

Activities, on and off campus

Can I attend church/mosque/synagogue on the weekend?

Yes, of course. The camp staff will help you with transportation; please remind them at least a day in advance of your needs. You'll likely find other students who want to go to services with you, too!

What sports activities are available?

Lots! Mathcamp students have access to campus athletic facilities, including the fitness center. Students (and staff) enjoy informal sports activities in the evenings. In the past, we have organized soccer, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, basketball, tennis, and swimming. If there's something in particular you'd like us to arrange, let us know, and we'll try our best. Keep in mind that on some campuses, the weight room is only accessible to students ages 16 and up; talk to us if you need us to negotiate an exception.

I'm a serious athlete; will I have time to train over the summer?

Sure! Each summer, we have some students who are staying on top of their home routines. Your daily schedule is up to you, so it's always possible to make the time: you just have to be diligent about it (even when camp gets filled with activities). We'll work with you and your family to make sure you have access to the facilities you need (on or off campus).

I'm a serious musician; can I practice over the summer?

Yes! We have lots of serious musicians at Mathcamp, and we have piano practice rooms available on campus for regular study. You get to design your own daily schedule—daytimes as well as evenings and weekends—so you can decide what works best for you. (The hard part is just sticking to your plan when camp gets busy! But we've seen many people do it before, and you can, too.)

Photo of indoor rock climbing at Mathcamp 2012

What other recreational activities are there?

Lots! We have field trips and hiking trips on weekends, and plenty of fun activities in the evening. See activities for more information. We also have access to facilities on campus: there are pianos for students to practice, fields for frisbee, and, of course, students can browse the college library. And we hold all sorts of activities on campus, like inner tube water polo.

Can I go off campus?

Anything on the campus map is defined as "on campus", and you may go places on campus by yourself. However, you must be in a group of at least three students to leave campus. To go off-campus, the group must check out together with a staff member: explain where they are going, confirm their cell phone numbers, and let us know when they expect to be back. Students need to be back in the dorms by 11 pm unless accompanied by an authorized adult.

Health and Well-Being

How do medications work at camp?

Daily and as-needed medications are administered by the camp staff (typically the camp nurse) at the office.

I have a physical disability / IEP / need for accommodations. Am I eligible to come to camp?

Yes, of course. Around 10% of adolescents in the U.S. are living with a disability, and this is orthogonal to being curious and excited about mathematics. Mathcamp is a flexible program, designed to provide a mathematically intensive and socially welcoming experience for everybody. Talk to us in advance of camp about the accommodations that will help you succeed at camp.

I need regular medical attention. Can this be arranged?

Yes, of course. Please contact us in advance of camp to make arrangements.

What happens if I get hurt during the camp?

Depending on the nature of the injury, the staff will give you first aid, call the camp nurse, drive you to the hospital, or call an ambulance.

What happens if a student at camp gets Covid?

Of course, we hope this does not happen! But we are designing protocols just in case. Read more about planning for Covid-19 .

What to Bring

What should I bring to Mathcamp?

Can I bring my computer?

Yes, and you might find it useful (both for classes and for staying in touch with your family). Keep in mind that we cannot take responsibility for any valuables. We will provide computer access in the dorm, so students don't need to bring their own computers, and you certainly don't need to go out and get one.

Can I bring video games?

We suspect you'll have much better things to do at camp and this won't be worth packing.

Photo of a Mathcamp band

Can I bring my calculator?

Sure, if you like, though you probably won't need it.

Can I bring a musical instrument?

Of course. And if you'd like, you'll be able to find other students (and staff) to play music with: we often have chamber ensembles and/or rock bands getting together. We also have an acoustic piano for singalongs and an electric piano for practicing in the dorm (so no need to bring your piano).

Staying in Touch

Is there a mailbox in the dormitory?

Yes, students can send and receive mail through the Mathcamp office.

What is the mailing address of Mathcamp while it is in session?

Please direct mail to:

Name of Individual
c/o Mathcamp
University of Puget Sound
Conference Services
1500 N. Warner Street, CMB 1093
Tacoma, Washington 98416-1093

Please bear in mind that mail sometimes takes an extra day or two to get to us through the college mail room; allow extra time for delivery.

How can my parents contact Mathcamp while it is in session?

You can reach us at (888) 371-4159. During the school year (Sept - June), this number will reach the Mathcamp staff during business hours. During camp (June 30 to August 4, 2024), this number will ring 24 hours a day in the Mathcamp office. And of course, you can always contact us by email. See also info for parents on communicating with campers.

Can I call home?

Of course! If you have a cell phone, we encourage you to bring it. (International students don't necessarily need a local SIM card, since campus has free wifi, but you might want a data plan for going off-campus.) For those campers not bringing cell phones to camp, we will have cell phones available to borrow at the Mathcamp office, to place calls from your room or to take off-campus when going out for pizza.

Can my relatives visit me?

Sure! However, we cannot provide accommodation for them.

Can I visit my relatives who live nearby?

Sure! The pre-camp registration will include a permission form for parents to list the names of friends or relatives who are permitted to take the student off campus overnight. (See Permission Forms.)