Fifteen students experienced homelessness on Nov. 15. There were activities on the Intramural Field from 8 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. during which the group watched several movies and played card games. Six students slept outside with blankets, while the rest slept in tents.
Several members of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity wanted to raise awareness about homelessness. Junior Anson Whiting and sophomore Daniel Hellinger planned the event with help from VISTA Student Engagement Coordinator Lizzie Martinez.
“We started planning the event in October,” Hellinger said. “Kappa Sigma wanted to sponsor this event because we want to show that homelessness has increased and there needs to be a solution to stop it.”
Martinez said the point of the event was to think about the issues surrounding homelessness.
“We tried to simulate homelessness as much as possible,” Martinez said. “The point is to get people to sleep outside to think about what it is like to be homeless.”
Whiting described the experience.
“The weather was cold and raining. The wind was the worst part. It was hard to be focused on sleeping without getting woken up,” he said. “It helped having people around me to do [the event] with. It gave me motivation.”
Hellinger agreed with Whiting.
“Sleeping outside is a very hard process. It took a lot of preparing, but it was a great experience to go through,” Hellinger said. “I realized that I take my home and my bed for granted when there are thousands of people in Oregon who don’t have either.”
Community service is one of the most important parts of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, Whiting said.
“We chose this specific event because we like doing things that will make people more grateful for what they have,” he said.
During most community service events for the fraternity, people build items, participate in fundraisers or help people directly,Whiting said.
“My favorite part was how different it was from any other community service event. This was a simulated event,” Whiting said. “A canopy flew into the projector [for showing the movie]. The quirkiness of [it] made it better. The few problems that arose made it less stressful because it made things interesting,” he said.
Martinez said that she enjoyed working with Hellinger and Whiting and that it was great to work with students on campus.
She said that she likes helping students set goals and run successful events.
“It made Dan [Hellinger] and I really thankful to come to a warm building and warm clothes. It made me so appreciative to have a home and not sleep on wet grass,” Whiting said.
Martinez described the event as successful and said she wantedto get people thinking about homelessness.
“I loved seeing student leaders come together,” Martinez said. “It is inspiring to see students give up their bed for a night to raise awareness.”
Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is a week during which college campuses nationwide spread awareness of the issues. Linfield has participated by hosting events such as this for several years.
Hillary Krippaehne/Copy editor
Hillary Krippaehne can be reached at email@example.com.