Students spent the night in cardboard shelters during Cardboard City, which took place in the Student Life Rotunda on Thursday, Nov. 16, at 4 p.m.
The event is hosted annually by SVSU’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity to raise funds and address homelessness awareness during national Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week.
The funds raised by the event will benefit the Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity.
The president of SVSU’s Habitat for Humanity chapter, Allie Roggenbuck, helped organize and direct the event.
“We definitely did some more initiatives for fundraising,” she said. “We had members decorate tin cans to take around to work, class or home to bring in spare change.”
Students filtered into the Rotunda all night to build their cardboard shelters. While it was free to participate, the organization did ask for donations from students if they got extra cardboard.
Fourth-year social work students Katie Bouvee and Kendall Hirschman participated in Cardboard City.
“It’s like a tradition for us,” Hirschman said. “It goes along with our major too, to raise awareness about homelessness. It’s educational and fun.”
Theatre major Annae Childs and accounting major Rakiyah Curry also participated together, shacked up against the Rotunda windows.
“We’re doing a research project, and this is part of our field research on homelessness,” Curry said. “It’s kind of just to experience what it would be like to have to build your home out of cardboard boxes and live outside.”
SVSU’s Habitat for Humanity chapter is trying to contribute to the Shiawassee-Saginaw chapter’s vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
“For me, homelessness was never having a steady home,” third-year social work major Sam Miller said as she watched the event. “Because I live on campus, this is my third year seeing this. Most of the kids that did grow up homeless didn’t experience this.”
While the event was meant to simulate a night of homelessness, some students feel the effort could be placed to be more proactive and directly help the community instead of potentially perpetuating a stereotype.
“There’s so much more to it than what they’re giving and showing,” Miller said. “I haven’t heard anything on campus this week that advocates awareness of homelessness and mental health and hunger except by the ATMs. I can see where the good is in this, though.”
With the annual event wrapping up, the SVSU chapter of Habitat for Humanity had nearly 60 participants for Cardboard City and was able to raise a little over $100 for the Shiawassee-Saginaw chapter.