Students sleep-out while donations roll in
Ever attempted to put yourself in the shoes of the less fortunate? More than 120 Niagara students took on the challenge and simulated homelessness in the 2011 Homeless Sleep-out.
The event was co-sponsored by a multitude of organizations, including Campus Ministry, Tau Kappa Epsilon, EAGLE Leadership, and the Niagara University Student Government Association.
Traditionally the program takes place outside on the front lawn of St. Vincent's Hall. However, due to poor weather and ground conditions, the event took place inside of the Lower Level Gallagher Center.
Nick Hinds, the philanthropy chair for Tau Kappa Epsilon, was one of the many volunteers who made the sleep-out a success.
We started our planning way back in the summer, Hinds said. Without hesitation, he exclaimed that his efforts were all worthwhile. This event raises awareness about homelessness. We take so many things for granted, and this is a unique opportunity to get an empathetic view for those who are less fortunate.
The sleep-out netted canned foods and toiletries to donate to the Divine Mercy Food Pantry. The event, itself, included a house building competition where students used scrap cardboard and other various materials to build makeshift houses to shelter student groups.
Several faculty members made up the judging panel.
Campus Minister Monica Saltarelli, no stranger to the program, commented on the overall success of the program.
This is my fourth year doing it, and I am so glad to see more houses built, more teams present, and more donations coming in, she said.
Ultimately, not even some adverse weather conditions could hinder the success of the program.
I was concerned that moving it to Gallagher might have had a negative impact, but I still saw an excellent turnout and was very proud, Saltarelli said.
All proceeds not only go to the Divine Mercy Food Pantry, but also the St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Store she added.
As one of the campus ministers at NU, she is very active in the Vincentian tradition of giving back to the needy.
Students participating in event said it's one worth looking forward to.
It's an absolute blast every year said Sara Kates, a junior at Niagara University. My friends and I don't mind sacrificing a Friday night for this event, simply because it's worth it.
Kates a member of NUSGA and the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority, added, It's a bonding moment in our college journey. You get a great blend of students and faculty, ultimately creating a higher morale.
Plans have already begun to form for next year's sleep-out.