MSU Mankato hosts simulation for students to raise awareness for homelessness

Updated: Nov. 22, 2019 at 10:11 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - The Minnesota State University, Mankato Community Engagement Office hosted its annual Homelessness Awareness Sleep-Out Friday night.

“Not just be the change you wish to see in the world, but experiencing it can also help spark people to want to be that change,” Mavs In Action volunteer Silver Byrd said.

Students who were brave enough to participate will be put in several scenarios that will replicate the experiences of people who are homeless.

One of the event organizers, Silver Byrd, talked with community members directly affected by homelessness to come up with the simulations.

“One conversation I did have was with my mother, because my mother was born and raised in Detroit and struggled a lot with going from homeless shelter to shelter sleeping in her car and a lot of it had to do with domestic violence where they had to flee their own home and bring everything in their car. One of the big scenarios I got from that would be having all the boxes in the car,” Byrd said.

Those boxes will not only limit space for sleeping in the vehicle, but participants will also have to search for a fake social security card in the many boxes as if they needed it in the job-seeking process.

Other scenarios involve brushing their teeth outside the vehicle with a toothbrush, paste and water bottle.

More community members who were reached out to came and spoke with students before the overnight, like a recipient of a Habitat for Humanity home.

“A lot of the service work that students do, but they don’t really interact with any of the people that receive the houses. I thought it would be really cool to get someone who received a house and talk about the process,” graduate assistant Alex Trewatha said.

This was the finale of MSU Mankato’s series of events for National Homelessness Awareness Week.

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