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Monday, November 12, 2012

Campbellsville students raise homelessness awareness through Cardboard Nation event

For one evening, Campbellsville University students gave up their phones, laptops and iPods to experience homelessness through Cardboard Nation, the fifth annual event sponsored by Campbellsville University’s Social Workers In Touch Can Help (SWITCH) club.

Cardboard Nation, held recently on Campbellsville’s Stapp Lawn, is meant to provide the most realistic yet safe homeless living experience possible. Participants slept the night in a cardboard box, as the homeless do, in order to raise awareness and funds for the homeless.

The SWITCH club raised over $1,500, which goes to Green River Ministries, the local homeless shelter in Taylor County.

“I always thought you could only be homeless if you lived in a big city,” Chellsey Phillips, a senior at Campbellsville from Fort Knox, and president of the SWITCH club, said. “When I first got involved, I looked up statistics about our Kentucky homeless population and it opened my eyes to how homelessness could happen to anyone at any time.

“At Cardboard Nation you realize that it’s like living in a different country for a night because you are just not used to this population’s culture. You don’t have access to the normal living commodities, you cannot reach in the fridge whenever you want, it’s cold but no one cares that you’re freezing, you do not have a phone or other commodities, and you are shocked that someone lives like this every night and under much worse conditions.

“Cardboard Nation takes place in a safe, controlled, supervised environment, but homelessness does not; no one pays attention to the needs or well-being of the homeless,” Phillips said.

Dr. Candace Hansford, associate professor of social work, said, “I am so proud of all the hard work and dedication of the social work students putting Cardboard Nation together to bring awareness of homelessness in the rural regions. It is definitely here in Taylor County and other rural areas more than we realize.”

Hansford said she was “delighted to be able to raise not only awareness but also funds for our local homeless shelter, Green River Ministries. We are extremely grateful to all who participated either through spending the night or donating money.”

For more information, contact Campbellsville University’s Carver School of Social Work at 270-789-5049.

From Campbellsville University