Students weather cold, poverty

Marquette students are set to take part in the annual Schroeder HallSleep Out to grasp an understanding of homelessness and spread awareness of the issue at Marquette.

Students will sleep in cardboard boxes from 7 p.m. tonight to 7 a.m. Friday and talk to several people from Repairers of the Breach, Milwaukee's only daytime homeless shelter, according to MacCanon Brown, executive director of Repairers of the Breach.

"We want to bring understanding to the plight of the homeless," Brown said. "We want the students to connect with homeless people on a human level."

The event primarily aims to bring awareness about homelessness to the community.

Any student can participate and they need not sleep outside the entire night, according to College of Arts & Sciences junior Frank McAlpin, eighth floor resident assistant at Schroeder and part of the Sleep Out.

"It's really good to stop by and see what it's like," McAlpin said.

The Schroeder Sleep Out will give students a "reality shot" of what homelessness looks like, said Marquette Student Government senator C.J. Hoffman, a College of Engineering sophomore and Schroeder resident.

"I think it's just important because it raises awareness of homelessness, especially in Milwaukee," Hoffman said. "If people are aware of it we can figure out ways to help the problem."

McAlpin said the Sleep Out centers around discussion and visualization of the poverty and homelessness problem. It will include soup and hot chocolate in addition to the Repairers of the Breach education session.

Residents plan to collect food, clothing and possibly money for a local shelter as part of the Sleep Out effort, according to McAlpin.

The collection begins today and stretches into next week's Gong Show, Schroeder's talent show in which participants donate canned goods to strut on the stage, McAlpin said. Donation time might possibly be extended through the entire month because November is National Hunger and Homelessness Month.

McAlpin said he thought advertising for the event creatively caught people's attention. About 100 newspapers were lined above and below the Schroeder mailbox and sporadically in the lobby. Each newspaper contained a handwritten fact about poverty and homelessness, such as "12 million children live in poverty."

McAlpin said the event, especially the Repairers of the Breach education session, will "debunk the myths and stereotypes" about homelessness.

The Repairers of the Breach presentation will also appropriately fit into the "True Life" series, a series of speeches about issues including pregnancy and homosexuality given by university members, McAlpin said.

The speech series was established by McAlpin and College of Communication junior Angelique Robinson last semester to address issues that Marquette may not explore and address sufficiently, McAlpin said.