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VSU hosts Homeless for a Night

On Nov. 10, 51 students attended Homeless for a Night on VSU’s front lawn despite the cold weather. The students arrived at 5 p.m. and stayed until 6 a.m. the following day.

LAMP, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. Kappa Delta Chapter, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Mu Omicron Chapter, SGA, CMVSU, Housing & Residence Life, Department of Leadership and Services hosted this event to give students a better perspective of homelessness. The United Way also provided coffee and hot chocolate to the participants throughout the night.

“Students have come out to be part of this program and understand about homelessness,” Niki Turley, a director for Homeless for a Night, said. “Hopefully, this event will grow bigger and bigger as the years go by.”

The participants were given cardboard boxes to set up their homes for the night. There was a contest for the best cardboard boxes including the most decorated, weather proof, coziest and the tallest. The cardboard boxes were donated from businesses across the community.

“I thought that it would be nice to experience what it would be like to be homeless for a night,” Debreshia Bryce, a freshman undecided major, said.

During the event, students could register as an individual or a group. Ariel Zapata, a freshman nursing major, and Jalilah Wilson, a freshman communication disorders major, registered together and shared their experience for participating in this event.

“We wanted to do this activity because we’ve always been the type of girls to pull over and give money to those standing out there asking for help,” Zapata said.

“Even though this a little different then what the homeless have to endure, it gives us a deeper understanding of their daily struggles,” Wilson said.

At 2 a.m. the VSU Police Department arrived while the participants were sleeping in their cardboard boxes and evicted from their area. The participants were required to pick up their cardboard boxes and take them to the other side of the front lawn.

“It sucked,” Will Baskin, a senior sociology major, said. “I was sleeping comfortably and then they told me that I was evicted. I had to pick up my cardboard box, and it fell apart when I picked it up.”

At 6 a.m. the participants had breakfast and shared their reflections.

“I heard about this event and it made me think about my past experiences about people in need,” Amiah Hartman, who is part of the emergency leadership program market, said. “I wanted to go all in like no showering and live on the grass. I wanted the whole experience. I wanted to put myself in the shoes of a homeless person.”

Story and photos by Darla Dunning, Content Editor. 

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