News

UBC Okanagan students' voluntary homelessness ends tonight

Richelle Collins is among seven UBC Okanagan students that took part in the five days for the homeless project, which ends tonight.  - Kathy Michaels/Staff Reporter
Richelle Collins is among seven UBC Okanagan students that took part in the five days for the homeless project, which ends tonight.
— image credit: Kathy Michaels/Staff Reporter

Richelle Collins will get to shower, eat a home-cooked meal and sleep in her own bed tonight.

It's something the 21-year-old once took for granted but after five nights of bunking outside the sciences building at UBC Okanagan, it will be a much-appreciated change of pace.

"It's been much harder than I thought it would be," said Collins, of her five days of voluntary homelessness, Thursday afternoon. "We get up at 6:30 a.m., when the sun comes up, move into the corner and start panhandling."

Collins is among five management and two social work students at the university, dabbling in poverty as part of a campaign dubbed Five Days for the Homeless.

It was started in 2005 by business students from the University of Alberta to raise money and awareness for a local charity. Since then, schools across the country have taken the charge and this year alone their efforts have raised $128,000 nationally. Locally nearly $2,500 was raised for NOW Canada sponsored Tutt Street Place Apartment for Women and Children.

Good work and hardship aside, however, Collins admitted their efforts are far from what an actual homeless person actually experiences — although the small taste they have has been eye opening.

"We're still going to classes," Collins explained. "And inside I still want to do my best, but the physical strain from sleeping outside makes it hard — it's no wonder people have trouble getting jobs."

In addition to increasing their own level of understanding, students around the university are starting to take notice of what they've done,.

"When we started people would ask us 'what are you doing, sleeping outside?'" she said. "Now one in five say 'hi' at least."

Case in point was economic student Chris Paley, who stopped briefly to discuss what was happening.

"I'm from Niagra, Ont. and this (movement) has blown up there in the last couple of years," he said. "It's a good idea to raise awareness that it's not just stereotypical old hobos who are homeless — it can be anyone. Some people don't have money, they don't have a job and once they're on the street they can't get off."

For more information about the campaign, or to donate, go to www.5days.ca.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

VIDEO: Witnesses describe scene at Parliament Hill; Raw footage of Ottawa shootings
 
Security stepped up in B.C. after attacks in Ottawa
 
Straight From DeHart: Towne Centre mall welcomes new lingerie shop
Partnerships key to LNG boom, says LNG Buy-BC advocate
 
(VIDEO) B.C. boys Reinhart, Virtanen ranked in Top 10 for 2014 NHL Draft
 
COTR board announces appointments
Albas off to Ottawa
 
Emission limits set for B.C. LNG producers
 
Sustainablity group remains positive

Community Events, October 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 22 edition online now. Browse the archives.