Xavier students go homeless for a cause

14th annual Shantytown brings week of homeless awareness to campus | October 17, 2003

A shantytown sprung up in the heart of Xavier's campus on Sunday, Oct. 19, as students worked to educate people about the plight of the homeless in Cincinnati and around the world. The 14th annual weeklong homeless awareness event raised money for the Drop Inn Center, The Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless and Tender Mercies.

Shantytown 2003 began at 2:00 p.m. Sunday when students began building about 25 cardboard shanties on the academic mall, where they lived for the week. Clubs and organizations each donated $50 to build a shanty. Students also had the opportunity to contribute by giving a meal from their meal plan. The cost of the meal was then donated to the Shantytown fund drive. Collections also were being taken during Mass at Bellarmine Chapel and in the dorms.

Many events were planned around Shantytown for the week. The evening of Monday, Oct. 20, a “Veg Out” dinner was held at 5:30 p.m. by the shanties, and at 9:00 p.m. students panhandled for donations in the dorms. The morning of Tuesday, Oct. 21, students volunteered to serve a meal at a local homeless shelter. That evening at 7:30 p.m., speakers from Tender Mercies came to campus for a presentation on homelessness and mental illness in Alter Hall, Room 224.

A panel discussion exploring positive solutions to homelessness in Cincinnati was held on campus Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 7:30 p.m. in Kelley Auditorium. Cincinnati police Sgt. Steve Saunders, city council candidate Brian Garry, and a former homeless man were among those speaking on the panel.

Friday, Oct. 24, the shanties were torn down at 3:00 p.m. after an afternoon meal of grilled cheese and soup, marking an end to the week’s awareness events.

For more information, contact Claire Mugavin at 513 745-3005 or Dave Cicerchi at 513 924-8929.