University of Lethbridge Students Spend Five Wintry Nights in Cardboard Box
A chilly college town in Canada is making headlines for a new project conducted by five University of Lethbridge students that aims to raise awareness about homelessness by giving up the comforts of their college dorms in favor of living for five days in a cardboard box on their frigid campus.
The event has been coordinated by 5 Days for the Homeless in support of the Woods Homes Youth Shelter in order to document the plight of homeless people in the Canadian winter as well as raise funds for the organization. 5 Days for the Homeless itself is a charitable campaign that has amassed over $985,000 towards aiding Canada’s 33,000 homeless nationwide, 11,000 of whom are estimated to be youths.
Students involved in the event hope that Lethbridge, a city in Alberta famous for inhospitable climates during winter months, provides ideal conditions for highlighting just how difficult it is to survive just a few cold nights in their own town.
“Our first evening of five days started out with that typical Lethbridge wind, this didn’t stop us from building a fairly sturdy and insulated shelter. After the sun went down the temperature dropped, but because of all of us jammed in the box we stayed fairly warm,” said participant Katie Kalmar.
“One of the biggest challenges I see for myself this week will be actually getting some sleep. Our current “mattress” is two layers of cardboard with a layer of newspaper in between, but it is just as uncomfortable as the cement it’s on top of,” Kalmar added. “This morning we woke up to a few inches of snow on the ground and all across the top of the shelter.”
The materials used for the event were given to on Sunday, and will be used until Friday. While there, they will be receiving donations while also speaking to other students about youth homelessness and its causes.
“Living outside for 5 days without the comforts of home and technology is a real eye opener. We got to experience the harsh realities of living on the street first hand and it brought context to the homeless problem we have right here in our great nation and city,” Management Students’ Society President Jesse Zimmer wrote in a Facebook post.
To read their daily accounts, visit the 5 Days for the Homeless Blog.