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Laurier students to experience '5 Days of Homelessness'

It's part of an initiative, involving 19 universities across Canada
homeless person
File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Five students from Wilfrid Laurier University will be learning what it's like to be homeless over the next week.

They're taking part in an initiative called "5 Days of Homelessness," and will be one of 19 universities involved across Canada.

"The five participants must remain on campus for all five days of the campaign," said Noelle Rossi, President for the Laurier campaign, adding participants will not have any disposable income to work with, so any food they eat must be donated and given to them and they have to sleep outside.

"We do have room in our budget to make sure that participants that we have hired will be well-nourished.  But the idea is that people are bringing them food."

They won't be able to shower and won't have access to their personal phones or laptops.

Despite all that, Rossi said they must still meet all their academic requirements, and that means going to all classes.

"It really shows that it could be anyone whose experiencing this," Rossi said, "We have run into people in the past who actually go to Laurier and are experiencing homelessness."

The students will be able to access computers on campus to do any school work.

There will be outdoor activities throughout the duration of the campaign, including flag football and a movie night.

"We're really trying to emphasize having outdoor events, because it allows people to really naturally emphasize with people who don't necessarily have a timeline in terms of the next time they will be able to get into a warm bed or go home and cook a hot meal."

All funds raised will be split between Argus Residence and oneROOF Youth Services, two organizations that support those who are less fortunate.

CLICK HERE for an online portal to donate funds, read about the campaign, blogs from students participating and more.

You can also donate funds on site, with donation boxes set up around all their events.  And you can follow along with the local campaign as it goes along HERE.

The opening ceremony kicks off the local campaign Friday night at 5:00 p.m. at the Fred Nichols Campus Centre.


Mark Pare

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