Members of the Phi Kappa Upsilon (PKU) fraternity slept in cardboard boxes on the Quad for two nights and lived on donated food in order to raise awareness of the homeless and the extreme challenges they face. The students collected clothing, food, cash, and necessities to donate to the COTS homeless shelter in Detroit.
The fraternity brothers quickly learned how hard it is to sleep on the ground without anything over their heads. They gained a better understanding of the challenges faced by homeless people in the metro Detroit area who are struggling to find enough food to eat and a place to sleep on a day-to-day basis.
PKU President Tom Stellmach said that the fraternity’s Aug. 28-30 collection for the homeless was supported by many people on campus as well as businesses, including Wal-Mart, Meijer’s, Lowe’s and Sam’s Club. They also attracted media coverage from a television station and at least two newspapers.
“People tend to ignore the problem of homelessness, rather than address it,” said PKU member Howard Randolph. “We ostracize the homeless and often do not acknowledge that they are human beings. This was a way to draw attention to the problem and have some fun at the same time.”
More than 30 people gathered around the homeless demonstration site for an impromptu party as twilight descended the first night.
LTU President Virinder Moudgil visited the homeless encampment on Thursday morning to contribute some food, make a donation and supply the PKU brothers with doughnuts. The students and Moudgil discussed the high rate of homelessness among military veterans.
“The selfless service of our veterans has made possible our freedoms, including the opportunities available to college students,” Moudgil said. “The country owes a lot to our homeless veterans, and I’m glad that our students have taken a positive step to offer them some help.”
“It is very important for our students to recognize the problem of homelessness in our society,” Moudgil said. “We are blessed to live in a country that offers so much opportunity, but we should never forget those who are less fortunate.”