Homelessness Awareness Week – Student Insight
As seen in the KSU Sentinel
By LaShawnda C. Gamble
Kansas State University Students Focus on Homelessness
For the past six years, students have gathered on Kansas State University’s Quad to help raise awareness of homelessness in the community. This year, several students came out to advocate Homelessness Awareness Week as they participated in the “Sleep Out on The Quad” event from Thursday night until Saturday morning. The event offers students insight into what it’s like being homeless.
Participants went about their regular daily schedules, but instead of going to a reliable place of residence at the end of their day, they had to find items to create a home.
Some students built tents to protect themselves from nature. Others created forts out of trash bags and cardboard boxes to reduce condensation while sleeping at night. They were faced with the difficulties of finding places to sleep, eat, and wash, just like those who are homeless.
This lifestyle is a reality for more people in the community than many KSU students may realize. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there are more than 62,000 homeless veterans. Numbers for overall homelessness are significantly greater, and university students are not immune.
KSU student Samuel Robinson knows first-hand how difficult it can be not having a place to sleep at night. The 27-year-old History and English major became homeless last year after struggling to find a job.
“A lot of people think homelessness is for people who have drug habits, people who are just lazy, but it’s not,” Robinson said. “During these bad economic times, one event can make you homeless overnight.”
Robinson said he has stayed at homeless shelters, spent time couch surfing and even slept on campus. He currently lives with fellow students while he tries to get back on his feet and has job unloading trucks at FedEx.