Homelessness Awareness Week
Annual event inspires students to help others
KENNESAW, Ga. (Nov 8, 2018) — From a soup kitchen experience to sleeping outdoors overnight, Kennesaw State University students saw firsthand the plight of the homeless during the University’s annual Homelessness Awareness Week.
Now in its 11th year, the weeklong event served to end the stigma of homelessness by raising awareness among students and connecting them with the chance to help others across the Kennesaw State community and beyond. During the event organized by the Campus Awareness, Resource & Empowerment (CARE) Services, volunteers raised money and collected food and clothing to distribute to KSU students and the greater community. The week of events kicked off on Nov. 3 and will end on Nov. 9.
The week culminates on Friday with the Cobb County Candlelight Vigil honoring homeless community members who passed away in the last year, and a sleep-out simulation that offers students and community members a one-night experience of homelessness.
“This week is a way for students to get involved and make a difference for their peers. It also helps us reach students in need,” said Marcy Stidum, CARE Services founding director.
Organized by The Campus Awareness, Resource & Empowerment (CARE) Services, the week’s activities encourage KSU students to help their fellow students and make an impact in the greater community.
Students teamed up to create more than 1,800 sandwiches to benefit Clyde’s Kitchen, a local nonprofit providing meals to the hungry. The KSU Mudslingers, a student ceramics club, crafted over 100 bowls for the Empty Bowls Project, a grassroots effort to raise money in the fight to end hunger. Attendees select a handmade ceramic bowl with their donation and are served a bowl of soup prepared by University Dining.
“Most people are completely unaware of how we waste food in America while so many others go in need of a well-balanced meal. Empty Bowls hopefully challenges students to view food differently,” said Stidum.
Surprising to many is how many college students are impacted by issues around homelessness. On Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications across the nation, almost 60,000 students are listed as homeless. Over 30 percent of all college students have had their education impacted by housing or hunger problems.
One of the most important parts of the week is helping students in need realize this
resource is available at KSU, and in the weeks leading up to Homelessness Awareness
Week, six new students already have reached out to CARE for help. Stidum sees this
as a huge success and one of the most vital parts of Homelessness Awareness Week (HAW).
“Each year our biggest goal is for HAW to educate the campus and community but the most important thing is to reach those students who need us, so they learn we are here and give CARE a chance to see if we can be of help,” she said.
Since its beginning, CARE Services has helped over 800 KSU students and given 31,000 pounds of food to the hungry. Many of the events that take place over the week are organized and supported by student groups who want to make a change in the world.
– Andrea Judy
Photos by Rob Witzel and David Caselli
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. 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.