Starting the evening of March 13, these students will stay on campus for the entire week, including five nights outside. With only a sleeping bag in hand, they must rely both on food donations and support from their peers.
“Participants are spending five days outside, giving up the luxuries of life such as a warm bed or a toothbrush so that we can raise awareness about youth at risk,” said project manager Justine Daum. “The more people who know about the issue, the easier it is to come up with a solution.”
They can’t access the Physical Activity Centre for a shower, nor can they access social networking sites like Facebook during that time. In a worst-case scenario, they can trade their sleeping bag for food.
The event, known as 5 Days for the Homeless, is a student-run initiative to collect food, clothing and monetary donations to be given to the local non-profit EGADZ. After three successful years on the University of Alberta campus, the event expanded to a national level in 2008.
Last year, 10 schools from both eastern and western Canada raised over $180,000 and the entire cause received national media attention.
Building on the success of previous years, the 5 Days for the Homeless Saskatchewan committee is looking to have its biggest donation year yet.
In hopes of achieving this goal, this year’s event will include an Intercollegiate Charity Cup hockey tournament on March 25 and 26.
“Participating in the [tournament] will be a fun and unifying day for students, but we also hope it will be a day of support for the 5 Days campaign,” said marketing manager Erin Lord.
The tournament will feature eight teams — one team per college — battling for intercollegiate bragging rights. Students interested in participating are encouraged to contact their respective student societies.
The five homeless students will be accepting donations across campus from any students looking to support their cause. The 5 Days committee will also have an information and donation booth set up in the Arts Tunnel throughout the week.