By: Peter Hohman – Staff Writer
For the month of November, University of Dayton students will have the opportunity to participate in activities and service events that highlight the growing concern of homelessness.
Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month began Oct. 27 with a keynote speech from Martha Hennessy, the granddaughter of Dorothy Day. The speech was an inspirational talk on faith and justice and kicked off the many events that will be held across campus this month.
This is the first year that the Hunger and Homelessness Awareness activities have been expanded from a week to a full month. According to Claudia Guzman, a graduate assistant at the Center for Social Concern, the decision to do this was based on the many activities and service opportunities that could not fit into a single week.
“We had too much going on in one week which made it harder for everyone to attend the events they wanted to,” Guzman said.
The purpose of the month is to give students the opportunity to give back to people who are hungry and struggling with homelessness.
“It’s a time to raise awareness on issues of hunger and homelessness in Dayton, in the United States and across the globe,” Guzman said.
Events facilitated by the Center of Social Concern will take place throughout the month, such as the Table of Plenty lunch and discussion “How Effective are Social Services?”
Fair trade Christmas shopping in the Oregon District will be held Saturday and meals will be served at Target Dayton Nov. 22.
There also is a Thanksgiving food drive Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the ground floor meeting room of Virginia W. Kettering Hall. Students and volunteers will have the opportunity to sort and organize Thanksgiving meals for local families.
Besides the many service opportunities available to students this month, there are also activities available to give students the chance to experience what it is like to be homeless or hungry.
On Wednesday, UD Habitat for Humanity hosted a housing simulation, in which students were given the opportunity to reflect on the challenges low-income people face in a difficult housing market. Participants were assigned a specific role through the simulation, such as a homeless person with a disability or mental disorder. These roles gave students the chance to try to understand the specific problems that plague the homeless and provided a perspective on a lifestyle of the underserved.
Students are encouraged to participate and take advantage of the many events being hosted on campus this month for a chance to give back to the community and see through the eyes of the homeless.
“Students should come attend and take the time to learn something about what’s going on outside the University of Dayton,” Guzman said. “It’s a great opportunity to experience what life is like outside of the UD bubble.”
For more information on how to get involved with Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month, contact Guzman at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit udayton.edu/ministry/csc/advocacy/hha.php.