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A night in Shanty Town: Gordon students go homeless for a night

By Diana New diana@barnesville.com Cardboard box homes filled the GSC Student Activity Center lawn last Thursday as Human Service majors spent the night homeless in honor of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month. National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is held annually the week before Thanksgiving. As the holidays draw near, people take time to consider what they’re thankful for and many choose to donate some of their attention, time and resources to those less fortunate. According to their website, Hunger and Homelessness week is designed to educate the public, draw attention to the issue of poverty and build up the base of volunteers and supporters for local anti-poverty agencies. During this week different groups generate publicity about hunger and homelessness by holding a series of events to engage the community. GSC Human Service majors worked to generate publicity and awareness on campus by spending Thursday night homeless in card board boxes on the lawn in front of the school’s most popular building. A series of events hosted by the students throughout the night included collecting canned goods and change for the homeless while talking to passers-by about the rising problem of homelessness. By spending the night homeless, these students were also able to grasp a clearer understanding of their major and gain a connection to those they may one day be working with. Assistant professor of Sociology Dr. James Awbrey headed the event and also spent some time at ‘Shanty Town’ bringing awareness to homelessness Thursday night. ’Unfortunately homelessness has become a pressing issue in Georgia, and everywhere,’ said Dr. Awbrey. ‘Our human service majors wanted to shed light on the problem for their fellow students on campus, while also gaining insight on what it is to be homeless.’ Over 25 students participated in the event and built their own Shanty, and 15 students made it all the way through the night as a temporarily homeless person. ’I think overall it was an enlightening experience,’ said Dr. Awbrey. ‘The students brought awareness to their peers while learning for themselves that homelessness is a lot harder than it looks.’

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