On the 22nd of September, Wilmington College will be holding it’s annual Cardboard Village event next to the Boyd Cultural Arts Center from 8 p.m to 5 a.m. The idea of the event is to simulate what it is like to be without a home, something around 549, 928 people experienced on any given night in 2016 according to a study done by Project Home.
“The main goal is to help as many people as we can realize the real difficulties homeless people in the community deal with every day of their lives,” says Keni Brown, the Service Leader Executive Board (SLEB) President. “As we decorate the houses with facts about homelessness, it is fun but it also helps you realize how much the city is impacted by homelessness much less the entire nation.”
“It is fun but it also helps you realize how much the city is impacted by homelessness much less the entire nation.” – Keni Brown, SLEB President
Almost every organization on campus from Black Students Initiative to Greek life members will be participating in the event as a way to inspire other students to join the event. Setting up each house will take place an hour prior to the start of the event.
Each group is required to pick from a list of topics and write their findings on the outside of their cardboard house. Through researching the topic, it is aimed to help every participant realize the statistics behind this epidemic.
“It means so much to see students come out and leave their bed and the warmth for a single night and experience what the homeless may have to do.” says Sophia Hallam, The Hunger and Homeless Coordinator for SLEB.
Though the night is taken very seriously, there are a few events that lighten the mood as well as give gratitude to those that have participated in the event. One of those events is the prize giveaway. Prizes will be given to different groups for thing such as largest house and best decorated house.
“It is a way to encourage students to try their best when decorating their houses and it everyone enjoys winning prizes so it’s a win-win.” said Brown. “The spots are pretty much first come, first serve, but we haven’t really had a problem with overcrowding.”
Almost everyone has a topic they are passionate about for a plethora of reasons. Some of those reasons can hit home like they did for Hallam.
“Cardboard Village is important to me because my father figure was homeless with his two young daughters for a period of time and instantly I wanted to raise awareness about homelessness,” said Hallam. “Anyone can become homeless and it doesn’t make them any less of a person they were before.”
“Anyone can become homeless and it doesn’t make them any less of a person they were before.” – Sophia Hallam, Hunger and Homelessness Chair
The event will be following the Clinton County City Village which essentially jumpstarts Wilmington’s Cardboard Village in efforts to raise awareness back-to-back. Hallam works side by side with Denise Stryker at the Clinton County Homeless Shelter which grants her eye opening experiences that she is able to bring back to campus and share with the Wilmington College student body.