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Phi Beta Sigma Homeless Sleep Out

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Prasanna Tati

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Phi Beta Sigma Homeless Sleep Out

Prasanna Tati

If you were to venture out to the lower green and Campus Center Plaza late Wednesday night, you would have encountered an enormous cardboard structure. Upon closer observation, you would have also seen a few Phi Beta Sigma brothers camped out near the cardboard fort.

Every year, the Xi Theta chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity holds a sleep out to raise awareness about the issue of homeless youth and veterans in our nation. Prior to the actual sleep out, a lecture and seminar were held in Tiernan to discuss the prevalence of homelessness in our country.

Over 10% of the entire homeless population is composed of veterans and an estimated 75,000 veterans are homeless every night. In addition, a shocking 60% of the entire homeless population is comprised of children (under 18 age group).

Jamal Dummett, historian of the Xi Theta chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, and one of the brothers “sleeping out”, commented on the event, “The veterans statistic is especially appalling, because you think about how much time they spend serving our country, and they end up in conditions like this.”

As for the cardboard fort, Dummett mentioned that a group of brothers went to small businesses in Newark and asked for extra cardboard boxes as they explained their cause. Back on campus, they set to work, tearing apart boxes and duct taping them into an easy to see and attention-grabbing structure.

Passersby, such as myself, were given the opportunity to hold a cardboard sign with a shocking statistic on the front and take a photo in front of the enormous fort to post to social media and spread awareness about the issue of the homeless in our area.

Certainly for Dummett, this has been a life-changing experience. So far, he has been to three homeless sleep outs, all of which have been cold and unwelcoming. “You spend one night out here and it’s really cold, but imagine all the people who have to deal with this as their daily reality. Just keep that in mind.”