Xavier students kicked off Shantytown 2009 on Sunday, Oct. 18, by constructing temporary shelters on Xavier's academic mall and moving into them for the week.
The annual event has taken place at Xavier for 20 consecutive years to educate people about the struggles of homelessness. The theme this year is homelessness among young adults ages 18-24. Group discussions are taking place to educate people about the causes of homelessness in this population, what services are offered in our area and what everyone can do to help.
Students spend up to $30 to build rickety, haphazard structures made of cardboard, plywood, crates, tarps and other cast-off building materials. The shanties, packed with blankets, sleeping bags and pillows, dot the greenspace and serve as the students' home for five days, regardless of the weather. They will be torn down on Friday morning, Oct. 23.
The event also raises money for greater Cincinnati's largest homeless shelter, the Drop Inn Center, through Shantytown T-shirt sales. The shelter offers housing, help and hope to people experiencing homelessness.
A partial schedule of Shantytown events includes:
• Monday, Oct. 19: 5:00 p.m., Veg Out/Hunger Banquet at Dorothy Day House.
• Tuesday, Oct. 20: 7:00 p.m., skit by Artists for Others in Kelley Auditorium.
• Wednesday, Oct. 21: 5:00 p.m., cookout on the Greenspace; 8:30 p.m., documentary on youth homelessness in Hailstones, Room 17.
• Thursday, Oct. 22: 9:00 p.m., Koinonia reflection among the shanties.
• Friday, Oct. 23: 10:30 a.m., tear down shanties.