HPU students sleep outside to raise homelessness awareness

HIGH POINT, N.C. — More than 100 people from High Point University and the High Point community braved the cold into the early morning hours at the HPU Civitan Club’s Homeless Awareness Campout Saturday.

The event, designed to raise awareness of homelessness in the area, drew attention to the challenges the local homeless face every day.

HPU students, faculty and staff, members of the community and members of Open Door Ministries camped in sleeping bags and tents during the chilly night, with temperatures in the low 40s. There were events organized for participants throughout the night, including personal testimonies from homeless individuals.

“I definitely believe that the event served its purpose of exposing students and community members to some of the struggles that the homeless experience,” says Scott Skowronski, president of the Civitan Club. “Actually spending the night outdoors in the cold weather made me experience firsthand what the homeless struggle with on a daily basis.”

Dr. Daniel Hall, assistant professor of economics, says this is a perfect example of how students learn outside of the classroom.

“The campout, by putting the students in the shoes of the homeless for one cold night, generated empathy,” says Hall. “This level of empathy cannot be generated in the classroom, and I feel it will have a lasting impact on the students such that they will continue to be advocates for ending homelessness.”

In addition to raising awareness, the campout raised about $2,500 in cash and in-kind donations for Open Door Ministries and other partner agencies.

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