‘5 Days for the Homeless’ begins on WLU’s campus


(Photo by Cristina Rucchetta.)
(Photo by Cristina Rucchetta.)

On Monday, March 11, five Wilfird Laurier University students gave up their amenities for for the annual “5 Days for the Homeless.”  Their goal this year is to raise $15,000 for two groups: Reaching Our Outdoor Friends (ROOF) and Argus Residence.

The students participating this year include Pat Donnelly, Nicholas Goodfellow, Yanna Klimenko, Hannah Lee and Sara Cousineau.

Laiya Carayannopoulos, the director of this year’s event, stated that the goal for this program is to “raise awareness about youth at risk and the stigma around the issue [of homelessness] itself.”

Carayannopoulos also explained the rules that participants must follow, which include not leaving campus, using only the clothes on their backs and having only one pillow and sleeping bag each, which can be traded in for an emergency meal if needed.

Carayannopoulos also said that she hopes that the participants have a “meaningful experience and [that the campaign] changes peoples minds and opinions [about homelessness].”

All  who are participating expressed sincere dedication for the cause, and that their goals are to open people’s eyes to the harsh realities some people experience.

Cousineau explained that she often complained about others on her floor being loud, but has come to realize that homeless people have more to worry about, “like their safety.”

Lee, who was diagnosed with strep throat a few days ago, has seen the experience in a different manner.

“Being sick and doing this makes me think about how the homeless deal with [living on the street] when they are sick, since they don’t really have access to medicine,” she said.

Each participant also expressed difficulties they have been facing with each of the rules set in place.

For most of them not having access to technology has been, and will continue to be, the most difficult.

For Cousineau, however, not having access to more clothing has been the most problematic.

“[I change] so many times a day without even realizing it,” she said. “If you get your clothes wet [while on the campaign] you have to find a way to dry it.”

Goodfellow, on the other hand, is having trouble going to his classes, because his natural instincts when going inside becomes the need for sleep.

“I don’t get much sleep sleeping outside,” he said.

Each participant agreed that they appreciate what they have now, and that the experience, while only just beginning, has given them a different outlook on the situation.

The event closes on Friday.

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