Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Living in boxes: habitat awareness

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Southeast Missouri State University students will get the opportunity to live life from a different perspective when the Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter hosts Box City this Saturday at Parker Field.

Habitat's first annual Box City will be held from 7 p.m. this Saturday to 7 a.m. on Sunday.

The event will bring together student organizations to raise awareness of poverty and homelessness across America.

Habitat President Jessica Cooper said the chapter wants students to experience what it's like for individuals who don't have a home and who have to live every day in terrible conditions.

Students are required to bring their own boxes or sleeping bags to rest in during their night in the Box City. Additional boxes should also be brought so the organizations can work together as a team to build a shelter out of the boxes.

There will be "camp-like" games played throughout the night, as well as volleyball and Frisbee.

Chartwells will be providing a small meal for the participants early in the night, and Habitat will provide muffins in the morning.

Habitat Treasurer Jenny Robbins said she wants the participants to have fun while learning about Habitat but also to understand the importance behind the event.

"I know it's going to be cold, I know we may not have enough boxes, and I know that it might be kind of rough sleeping out there," said Robbins. "But I hope people will realize how hard it would be to actually be homeless and have to do that every night."

The weather is the only concern the organization has about the event.

Robbins said if the weather does turn out to be bad, however, it might be more of a positive thing. The rain will give the participants even more of a feel for what a homeless life is actually like.

"I hope the people that walk by and see us on Parker Field realize that there is a Habitat group on campus and that this is an issue that needs to be addressed," Robbins said. "And, they can help out and be a part of it."

Registration is recommended and will run until the event begins, but any student or community member is welcome to attend at any time throughout the night.

Monday, Oct. 4th marked the first day of the national advocate week for Habitat for Humanity International entitled "Act, Speak, Build Week." The Southeast Chapter did not participate last year due to a late start, so the organization decided to pack this year's week full of events.

Tiffany Ackerman, Advocate Chair of Habitat, said the week is meant to educate individuals about what Habitat stands for and to raise interest in the chapter.

"I have a speaker coming on Thursday who will tell exactly what Habitat does, like the fact that these owners don't actually get the house [Habitat builds] for free," said Ackerman. "They have to work for it, and they pay for so much of it."

In addition to the Thursday speaker at noon in the University Center, other events have already gone on and will continue to go on into the weekend.

World Habitat Day was on Monday and was the kick-off for the week. Habitat had a chili lunch on Monday, their weekly meeting at 8 p.m. on Tuesday in the UC and a fundraiser night at McAlister's Deli on Wednesday. Habitat will also host a paper house building competition at 7 p.m. on Friday in the UC. Box City will be the "encore" of the week, according to Ackerman.

"The whole point of Advocate Week is to raise awareness, so people understand how poverty and homelessness is a big deal and how it affects people," Cooper said. "It would be nice to gain more members, and get more people to help us out with what we're working towards."

Pertinent information- Jessica Cooper