KSU Students Reflect on Homelessness

Students braved the rain and wind to sleep outside at the KSU campus. By Donna Espy-Rypel Email…

Georgia (Oct 17, 2011) — Students braved the rain and wind to sleep outside at the KSU campus.


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It was a raw night last night as about 25 Kennesaw State University students and some of their family members braved the elements to see what it feels like to be homeless.

As part of its fourth annual Homelessness Awareness Week, Kennesaw State University is holding the sleep-out until noon on Saturday. Students constructed "tents" out of cardboard boxes and plastic garbage bags as the rains pounded down on them and soaked everything they tried to create.

"Even the experience of getting rained on shows us what the homeless population experiences," said Kaelinn Smith, a freshman sociology major at KSU from Smyrna. "I'm doing this because I've known homeless people and I wanted to experience what it's like to live in their shoes."

According to the event website, students play the roles of homeless individuals who must find food and shelter while attempting to go to school. Teachers, faculty and other students play the roles of police, court personnel and social service workers. No electronics equipment is allowed.

Freshman Michael Farris of Vinings said his recent studies in sociology at KSU have changed his mind about today's homeless. "I used to look at them like trash—just a bunch of drunks who can't get a job," said Farris. "But now I have a new appreciation of how easy it is to become homeless." 


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu