Homeless remembered during week of awareness

Maria Ly
Staff Writer

MNSU’s Community Engagement office is hosting events to recognize National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week from Nov. 18-22.

The Community Engagement office will be holding their annual homelessness awareness sleep-out on Friday night beginning at 8 p.m to Saturday morning at 8 a.m.

Students will be given the chance to hear from three different speakers, one of them being a social worker who works with elementary and middle school aged children and her experiences with homelessness among the youth in the community.

Along with hearing from speakers about their experiences with homelessness, participants will also get a taste about what some of those experiences being homeless can look and feel like.

Alex Trewatha, the graduate advisor for the Community Engagement office, said, “We also have several scenarios planned of what a homeless person may encounter. Something like, police coming to their window when they’re sleeping in their car, and what that conversation may be like. Or a child coming back and they have a science or art project due the next day, and the parents have to help them create that project with whatever they have in the car at that time.”

After experiencing some of those scenarios, the group will sleep in their cars outside in the parking lot of the Student Activities office from 11 p.m.-7 a.m. In the morning, they will be served breakfast and discuss what their night sleeping in their cars was like.

Trewatha thinks this event will create a more holistic perspective for students on homelessness. He said, “It could be prevalent on this campus, we could have students who are attending this school who are homeless, who are definitely facing hunger, I think this event is really positive because it brings that educational value and perspective to students who may not even be thinking about it.”

Students can sign up for the sleep-out on the Community Engagement’s engage page under the forms tab. The deadline for signing up is Thursday.

Before the sleep-out, students will also be given many opportunities to learn more about hunger and homelessness while also given the chance to help and think about ways they can help moving forward.

All week long there will be a food drive hosted by fraternity and sorority life that will support the hunger side of the awareness week.

The food will then get donated to the Campus Cupboard by the end of the week. Food donation boxes can be found all around campus. Students can also donate food to the Student Activities office in CSU 173.

On Wednesday in the Taylor Center Room 80 at 7 p.m. the Community Engagement office will be holding a screening of the film “The Public”.

Trewatha said, “This film focuses around a group of homeless people that took over a library in the winter time, to save them from the severe coldness and weather of that area. It’s kind of showing the experiences of them moving into the library during that time of year and what that was like for the library and the homelessness.”

In the beginning, discussion questions will be handed out, and after the screening the group will have a chance to discuss the questions and perspectives they gained from the film.

Trewatha hopes these events inspires students and opens up their mindset as they gain an experience that will last with them. He said, “I hope it broadens student’s minds and that they learn a little more about what homelessness could be like and how they can help going forward.”

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Header photo courtesy of Flickr.

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