UWaterloo students set aside privileges to raise awareness
On March 9 -14, a group of UWaterloo students spent 5 days and 4 nights sleeping outside in the cold winter weather. They gave up their warm beds, food, showers and electricity to raise awareness about the stigma of homelessness.
Camped out under the overpass between Biology 1 and Earth Sciences & Chemistry, the students collected donations to support local homeless shelters. Reba Campbell, one of the five participants, explained their efforts only scratched the surface of what it means to be homeless. She emphasized that there is a big difference between putting aside your privileges for the week, and not having them at all.
Christina Jackson, a fourth-year social development student, said this experience made her aware of how privileged she is and how much these privileges can be taken for granted. For Susan Mirabi, participating in this campaign helped her gain a better understanding that homelessness is a serious issue that happens not because of choices but unfortunate circumstances.
“We realize that the campaign did not address the root cause of homelessness, but we do appreciate that it is a step towards dealing with the immediate needs of those who are facing homelessness.” Susan explained. “And it helps raise awareness about the issue.”
The event is co-organized by Paula Gotshal, a fourth-year psychology student and Lauren Ruiter, a fourth-year Applied Health Sciences student. Both were participants last year as well and want to run this event annually so other students can be a part of this campaign.
They successfully raised money, non-perishable food items and clothings for local charities thanks to the generosity of the campus community. Learn more about their experience through the 5 days for the Homeless UWaterloo Facebook page.