Laurier students brave the cold in the name of homelessness
WATERLOO - Four students from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo are about to embark on a journey spanning the course of five days, but one which is sure to stay with them for a lifetime. During the five day campaign students from across the country will be making personal sacrifices to make their community a better place. Students will forgo their comforts, and live outside, effectively homeless, on their respective campus for five full days and nights. The cause is a simple one to raise money and awareness for local youth-at-risk shelters. Laurier has selected The Argus Residence and KW ROOF as its recipients of all donations this year. Both are shelters that provide housing and life skills training for homeless youth in the Kitchener-Waterloo community.
Last year, the second of which Laurier ran this campaign, Laurier raised over $7,500 during the two week campaigning period in March. The national campaign, founded at the University of Alberta four years ago, raised nearly $175,000 for similar charitable organizations across the country. Nationally, 5 Days is aiming to raise $200,000 in 2010. This year Laurier has set a total of $10,000 as a campaign goal.
Starting March 14 and until March 19, four students from Laurier’s Waterloo campus will brave the cold, wind, and hunger to send a message to students, staff, and the community a message that says “we can make a difference”. These participants will follow a strict set of rules, of which includes no food or drinks other than what is donated to them, no access to shelter, no disposable income, no bathrooms other than what their student cards allow them to access, and as a rule they must fulfill all academic responsibilities. They also must blog their experiences daily on the 5 Days for the Homeless website at 5days.ca/laurier using public computers.
Gray McCarty, spokesperson, says of the event “It’s for an amazing cause. We often turn a blind eye to these people and so often we forget that they might be on the streets for reasons beyond their control”. Similarly, Laurier’s 5 Days for the Homeless Co-ordinator Justin Camacho offers insight into the larger aims of the 5 Days mission, saying "It’s important to try and raise awareness beyond just the 5 days of the campaign, because homeless and at-risk youth need support and help all year round."