This Week in History: Students raise awareness for homelessness

James Moser curated this story by Rae Beasley which The Appalachian published Nov. 20, 1990.

Last Wednesday night a group of approximately 15 students spent a cold night out on Sanford Mall in what they termed “a chance to see what it felt like to be homeless.”

Active Students for the Community had a booth set up on Sanford Mall to make students aware that this week was Homeless and Hunger Week. But they didn’t stop there. These students gathered paper boxes from local merchants, grabbed their sleeping bags and headed for Sanford Mall where they spent the night. The group also fasted for 50 hours.

“We are fasting for 50 hours. We know we will eat tomorrow. I keep thinking about all those who won’t,” Karen Lawrence, a sophomore at ASU, said. 

All participants in the activities stated they were making this effort because they wanted to raise awareness in the community.

According to Amanda Rulis-Grater, the group fasted last year but never slept out on the mall. She also stated the response to this year’s efforts has been greater than last year.

“The neatest thing is the awareness that students had as we were out on the mall. Not all of it was positive but at least they were aware,” said participant Christina Harter.

Vice chancellor for student development, Dr. Greg Blimling, had also fasted for 50 hours, according to the group.

“He is sponsoring a dinner for us tomorrow night at 8 p.m. He has been a big help in this project,” Rulis-Grater said.

According to Blimling, he was glad to help out. “I was very touched by their personal commitment to the homeless and hungry. The least I could do was show my support,” Blimling said. He later added, “This kind of commitment to people is what ASU is all about.” 

According to Lawrence, the reason for participating in such an event is simple.

“So many people, when they decided they were coming out (to the event), were trying to figure out which sweater or which pair of gloves to wear. So many people don’t have a choice,” Lawrence said.

The group also participated in a skate for the homeless from 1-4 p.m. at Skateworld on Sunday. All proceeds went to the hospitality house in Boone.

According to Jill Morton, an ACT volunteer, the group will be accepting donations for the hospitality house this week also.