‘Sleep Out’ to put poverty in perspective

Judah Martin

In an effort to promote awareness for homelessness, the UA Community Service Center will host its annual Sleep Out on the Quad event this Wednesday from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The event will feature a panel discussion with representatives from Habitat for Humanity, the Veterans Administration Hospital and the Tracy Dent Foundation. Volunteers will also have the opportunity to help make blankets for those in need. Participants are then scheduled to watch several videos including a documentary about TOMS Shoes and a film about the survival of an Iraqi veteran.

Afterward, students may participate in the Walk Without Shoes before finally setting up their sleeping bags to spend the night on the Quad.

“The Sleep Out on the Quad will be an invaluable learning experience and a life-time memory for students that participate,” said Charlotte Brown, director of Hunger and Homelessness with the Community Service Center and main organizer of the event.  “I challenge the UA community to give one night to show that we are concerned about the issues of homelessness in our community and throughout the nation. This event gives students the opportunity to provide meaningful service and raise awareness regarding an important cause.”

Although there is no prior registration needed to take part in Sleep Out on the Quad, as an extra incentive, students who participate in the event will be given the opportunity to receive community service hours, which they can do by signing up at http://slpro.ua.edu.

Andres Mendieta, student director for the Community Service Center and a junior studying finance, said Sleep Out on the Quad, which will also works to raise awareness for Bama Blitz’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity, will provide students with a firsthand opportunity to step into the shoes of individuals in poverty.

“The most beneficial thing [about Sleep Out on the Quad] for students is to get an idea of what it’s like to spend one night without the benefits and privileges that we take for granted sometimes,” Mendieta said. “This night is a good way to put everything in perspective.”

Jacob Roden, a freshman studying English, is looking forward to the event and also views it as an opportunity for enlightenment.

“I think sometimes kids our age have a tendency to brush off issues like homelessness and poverty,” Roden said. “Of course it’s not necessarily intentional on their part, but I think that [Sleep Out on the Quad] will be an appropriate opportunity for kids to get at least some idea of the way that some people have to live. I definitely plan on being there.”

To learn more about the event, students are encouraged to visit the Community Service Center in 346 Ferguson Center or email their inquiries to uahungerandhomelessness@gmail.com.