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Wilfrid Laurier University Lazaridis School of Business & Economics
December 10, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Four Laurier students sleep outdoors to raise awareness about homelessness
Four Laurier students sleep outdoors to raise awareness about homelessness

Headlines (Campus Updates)

Lazaridis School of Business & Economics

Laurier students live outside to raise awareness about homelessness

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Mar 14/11

Students from Wilfrid Laurier University's Waterloo campus are living outdoors for five days and nights to raise awareness about homelessness. The annual event, part of the national 5 Days for the Homeless campaign, takes place from March 13 to 18.

The four participating Laurier business students as well as the organizing committee hope to raise $10,000 for two local homeless shelters: KW ROOF and Argus Residence. Last year, Laurier contributed more than $7,500 to the $187,000 raised nationally.

First-year student Heili Palo, fourth-year student Janaan Dibe, second-year student Jordan Bishop and fourth-year student Matt McGuinness will live “homeless” on campus for five full days and nights.

Bishop, who volunteered with the campaign last year, said he learned a lot about how vast the issue of homelessness is in Canada, and that seeing previous participants putting themselves “on the line to lead social change” transformed his outlook on what university life is all about.

“In Laurier's centennial year, the words ‘Inspiring lives of leadership and purpose’ are everywhere,” he said. “I am proud to say I have found both leadership and purpose, and 5 Days for the Homeless is the perfect avenue to express both of these qualities. The campaign has purpose – it's so much more than four people sleeping outside. We represent an entire school and community standing up to create positive change.”

The participants must follow a strict set of rules:

  • They must remain on campus for the duration of the campaign
  • They have no access to food or drink other than what is donated to them
  • They have no access to shelter, no disposable income and no bathrooms other than what their student cards allow them to access
  • They have one pillow and one sleeping bag which can be traded for an emergency meal
  • They must attend all of their regular classes and complete all of their academic responsibilities

“I'm hoping we can reach as many people as possible, and continue building on the fantastic tradition and support that Waterloo has gained from this event,” said Palo. “My goal is to have as many people as possible walk by recognizing the participants as students, friends, roommates, teammates… anything to be able to make the experience more personal for everyone.”

Visit to read blogs about the participants’ experiences and to donate.

The 5 Days for the Homeless campaign was founded five years ago at the University of Alberta.


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