Thursday, November 20, 2008

SHACKing up

Hello again!

I hope everyone is doing well on this chilly Thursday (it's chilly here at least). Tomorrow's FRIDAY so that's always amazing. This week on campus was Hunger and Homelessness week, and that includes alot of activity going on with M.O.V.E., the service program here on campus. M.O.V.E. sponsors tons of different trips and activities (Mairead talks more about them in her latest entry and any of us can answer questions you may have about that). For this week, everything was centered around help and awareness for hunger and homelessness, especially in Vermont. On Monday, for example, 250 or so people wore bright green shirts to represent the 10% of Vermonters who visit a food shelf each year. Students were also asked to bring in canned donations to the dining hall earlier in the week.

One of the most noticed activities that M.O.V.E. does this week each year is to put up a shack in the middle of campus. The purpose of the shack is to raise awareness about homelessness and to point out how hard it would be to actually live in something like that. In fact, many homeless in the area would probably give anything for something as sturdy as the wooden shack we use. Not only does the shack stand in the middle of campus, but students volunteer all week to stay in it for an hour a day or overnight, to continue awareness and get a taste for the experience.

On Tuesday night my friends and I stayed over in the shack (we did it last year too) and had a pretty good time. It was very cold, but we were equipped with sleeping bags, blankets, and many layers, some of the things the homeless do not have and we take for granted. We also had many visitors to the shack, which made our time there more enjoyable. Even so, we experienced what it would be like to not have anywhere to go for a night but a small wooden shack.

Perhaps what makes the experience hit home even more is that the first real snow of the season happened Monday night into Tuesday morning, so we slept in the shack after a day of cold and snowy conditions. That made us think even more about how hard it would be to have nowhere to go now that the winter cold and snow are coming. The shack is a great idea to raise awareness and whether you stay in it for an hour or overnight, everyone gets something out of it.

I recorded a video in order for everyone to get a better feel for the shack, and also have a picture of all of us in it. Here they are:

Also, here's and article from the Echo, our online newsaper, covering the shack. There's a multi-media presentation to go along with it too.

So I hope the rest of everyone's Thursday goes well, and if I don't check back before the weekend, enjoy that too!


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