Lately, I have been planning Poverty Fight Night for National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. It is an awareness event, and the focal point is the overnight sleep-in that is meant to mimic a situation in which students who face housing instability may find themselves. It is a night with entertainment and food, and on some level, it can be fun. However, sleeping in the HUB is anything but fun for students who are actually homeless. I think I would feel this constant anxiety if I had to call a friend for the third time in two weeks to sleep on their couch or worry about being kicked out from the HUB when I had nowhere else to go. However, even the most empathetic of us don’t really know what it’s like to be a homeless college student, unless we have been in that situation before. The voices of college students who live in poverty need to be heard. I understand that there is nothing glamorous about being poor, and many college students who do live in poverty feel uncomfortable speaking about their experiences. I know Jaden is asking those students to speak anonymously, and I hope they do.
Before joining Project Cahir, I did know about and feel strongly against certain forms of marginalization. However, poverty was a topic that always seemed very far away, even when Occupy Wall Street was ongoing. Project Cahir made poverty much more real to me, and it’s incredible to think about how I may have made a difference in someone else’s life. I feel that because I never had to deal with going hungry or being homeless, I should help those that need some assistance right now, especially when those people are my age, and in my classes, and dealing with similar but perhaps more severe issues academically and emotionally. Project Cahir has made me examine what I have and what I take for granted, and it’s more than I’d care to admit.