By Rachel Crenshaw, student news writer
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky.—Several cardboard boxes glittered the main lawn at Campbellsville University as the Carver School of Social Work attempted to imitate the experience of being homeless for one night.
The Social Workers in Touch Can Help Club (SWITCH), an organized club in the social work program, hosted the event on Friday, April 17 through Saturday April 18, on CU’s Stapp Lawn.
The SWITCH Club president, Diana Gardiner of Erwin, Tenn., said the purpose of the event was to raise money for Green River Ministries, a homeless shelter located in Campbellsville, by illustrating what it felt like to be homeless for one night.
To implement the experience she said, participants were asked to spend the night in a cardboard box with only the comfort of one item, a blanket. Each participant was given a box after they produced the rent fee, which was a minimal of $25. In addition, the participants were encouraged to raise sponsorship money, with the proceeds going to Green River Ministries.
“The event was very successful,” Gardiner said. “We had over 20 people stay the entire night, and we raised around $4,000 for the Green River Ministries. The SWITCH Club was extremely pleased with the outcome and look forward to next year’s event.”
Gardiner said the participants received a meal from the soup line that was prepared by the SWITCH Club. However, she said, no other foods, snacks or drinks were allowed. In addition, no forms of entertainment such as cell phones or laptops were permitted.
Ashley Boyd, a junior of Simpsonville, Ky., said, “I’m sure our one night experience didn’t really compare to what an actual homeless goes through. However, I believe it was a unique attention grabber and a great way to raise homelessness awareness among the community members of Campbellsville along with the students, faculty and staff at CU.”
Throughout the course of the event there were many activities for the participants to enjoy including a box decorating contest, a scavenger hunt, door prizes, a sack race and corn hole. In addition, the night’s events included speakers who experienced homelessness, singing around a bonfire, and taking a candlelight walk for homelessness awareness.
Gardiner said the SWITCH Club would like to thank the businesses, organizations and individuals who contributed to the event including: Sun Tan City, Kroger, McDonald’s, Tulip Tree, Papa John’s, Lowe’s, Baptist Campus Ministry, CU’s Office of Admissions, Doug Price and Rusty Watkins.
Kim Davis, a junior, of Campbellsville, said, “I think the Cardboard Nation event was a great way to promote the Green River Ministries and its services to the community because reality is we could all be homeless.”
Green River Ministries provide housing, rent and utility assistance to the community of Campbellsville. It will be celebrating its third-year anniversary in August 2009. Since it opening, the ministry has received a total of 217 requests for housing and other services.
For further information about Cardboard Nation event contact Misty Willis, secretary for the Carver School of Social Work, at (270) 789-5049.
Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,601 students who represent 93 Kentucky counties, 27 states and 31 foreign nations. Listed in U.S. News & World Report’s 2009 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South for the second consecutive year. CU has been ranked 16 consecutive years with U.S. News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges®. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his tenth year as president.