Many college students find it difficult to wake up and get to class in the morning, but for the past week members of California State University, Stanislaus’ fraternity Nu Alpha Kappa have welcomed the opportunity to get out of the cold.
The fraternity brothers spent the past five nights sleeping outside in the university’s quad in an effort to raise awareness about homelessness in our community. Their lives as homeless students began on Sunday and ended Friday afternoon. They not only forfeited shelter but also food and showers. They could only be nourished, physically and mentally, by the generosity of others.
“Our main purpose is to raise awareness for faculty and students that this is a problem here and we need to something to help them,” said NAK homeless awareness week coordinator Martin Castro.
The fraternity held special events throughout the awareness week, beginning with serving dinner at the We Care cold weather homeless shelter on Monday. On Tuesday, NAK hosted a viewing of a homeless documentary in the student lounge. Various speakers on homelessness featured a mid-day event in the quad on Wednesday, and the week’s activities ended with a vigil service on Thursday.
While the temporarily homeless college students complained about the cold all week long, Thursday night’s rain may have been the most difficult night of the week.
The hardest part of being homeless, according to NAK member Oscar Tovar, was “not showering, not being able to shave and relying on students to bring us food.”
“I like the fact we didn’t even shower. It shows people we’re really dedicated to this week,” Tovar said. “We were only given cardboard, tarp and blankets. We hardly slept, that’s how cold it was.”
Along with raising awareness, NAK also collected food and monetary donations for the We Care shelter and United Samaritans Foundation. According to Castro, the fraternity raised $800 last year and they are hoping to do a little better this year.
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