March 12, 2009: Awareness for homeless

      Thursday, March 12, 2009
      Contact: Shelley Kean at 604.983.7596

      (NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.)—Living on campus has officially taken a literal turn at Capilano University. On Sunday, March 15, three students will embark on a five day homelessness campaign that is sure to open the eyes of our community. They will abandon their comforts and experience a life with no luxury other than a pillow and a sleeping bag. This sacrifice is aimed towards generating a greater awareness of homelessness issues and donations for local charities including Covenant House and Urban Native Youth Association (UNYA).

      From 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 15 until 5 p.m. March 20, participants will live outside the Birch building without access to income, showers, cell phones, and transportation. The only means of electronic communication they will use is an online blog, where they will post their status and recount their experiences. They will attend all of their classes during the day. They will only eat food received through direct donations, and all monetary donations will be passed on to Covenant House and UNYA. Participants will live only on perishable food donations, which means other students on campus will play an active role in the campaign by providing participants with meals. Non-perishable food items will be donated to the Covenant House food bank. Washrooms will be accessible to participants only while campus buildings are open. 

      “So far we’ve had a really solid response,” says Richard McCrae, head of the Social Justice Committee and coordinator of the North Vancouver limb of the 5 Days for the Homeless campaign. “People are rallying around the event as it gets closer. Young students are taking a stand for youth, and I think it will e really progressive and good for the campus.”

      Capilano University’s three humble participants are Trevor Page, Connor Welsh, and Krissi Bucholtz. Together they are hoping to raise $5,000 towards supporting homeless and/or runaway youth in Canada. These donations will help provide food, shelter, clothing, and other basic necessities, as well as health care, education, treatment and counseling, and crisis services for homeless youth.

      “I hope that by the end of the week (the students’) attitude towards homelessness has changed,” Bucholtz answers to how onlookers might react to the campaign. “Charity is giving to the poor, but justice is getting to know them. I hope that this week will bring a renewed sense of the need for justice to students at Cap.”

      McCrae, Bucholtz, and the other participants will be available for interviews on the Capilano University campus during the five-day campaign. Media are also invited to the wrap up party on March 20, to be held in front of the Maple building at 5 p.m. with live music and refreshments.