Seton Hall students camped out in cardboard boxes on the Green as one of many programs which took place as a part of the Division of Volunteer Efforts’ (DOVE) Hunger and Homelessness Week, which was held from Nov. 14 – 20.
The Boxed In event began with a viewing of the movie “The Other America,” continued with a soup kitchen meal and ended with people bundled up and huddled in boxes.
“I learned homelessness is not so distant,” sophomore Brey Kelton said. “You can live a normal lifestyle and still be homeless. The night was cold and windy, which caused students to stuff newspapers in their clothing to keep warm.
Though the night began with a good amount of students, only eight students remained by morning.
Other events consisted of activities such as the Faces of the Homelessness Panel, PB&J for the Poor, a food drive in South Orange and the Hunger Banquet, which were organized by Mark Cantine, a DOVE graduate assistant, and junior Kathleen Walsh.
“It’s been an amazing week,” Walsh said. “We had many students turn out and we had the support of many sponsors on campus.”
Walsh said she hoped the week made hunger and homelessness more evident to students.
“My hope is that it raised awareness about hunger and homelessness, and the awareness that we are one step away from hunger and homelessness,” Walsh said.
The Faces of Homelessness Panel brought homeless youth, ages 18 – 21, from Newark’s Covenant House to campus to speak to the students. The Covenant House provides temporary housing for homeless, at-risk youth and helps the homeless youth transition from living on the street to living in the house.
“Homelessness could happen to anybody,” a speaker from the Covenant House said.
The Hunger Banquet, an event to show the inequalities people suffer, highlighted how those in third world countries differ from those in more developed countries.
The students in the room were separated into three worlds: the first world which sat at a special table, the second world which sat on couches and the third world which sat on the floor.
When it was time for dinner to be served, the first world received a dinner consisting of filet mignon and lobster ravioli, the second world ate from a buffet and the third world received chicken soup.
When the room was asked to reflect on this experience, the first world said they felt guilty eating. The third world said the experience was enlightening, especially in the experience of smelling and looking at food they could not have.
Some students urged the recognition of hunger and homelessness by donating cans and coats and not wasting food.
“Act like people matter because they do,” student Taylor Bianco, said.
Cantine felt that any effort made towards helping the hunger and homelessness problem would be effective.
“No actions or words are too small,” Cantine said.
Kelly Carroll can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org