The week will culminate with Box-Out, where students will spend Friday night in the Pit with only a box to sleep in, a gesture of sympathy for the homeless.
Fitch said HOPE received $1,000 from the Campus Y for the week’s expenses and said the group also applied for grants from the Residence Hall Association and Carolina After Dark.
Mackenzie Thomas, co-president of the Campus Y, said the Y has historically donated the $1,000 amount to Poverty Action Week because it is one of the organization’s major theme weeks.
“The executive board works to aid the macro-structure of the Y, ensuring that committees have proper resources to do what they do best,” Thomas said.
Fitch said the week’s primary focus is building community relationships and exposing students to homeless individuals and the problems they face.
Layla Quran, chairwoman of Poverty Action Week, said interactions with homeless individuals bring about understanding and familiarity, which is key to making further change.
“Poverty Action Week can help students learn about poverty … and really understand it,” Quran said. “And once they do understand it, that fear of homeless individuals is gone.
“I believe activism at its very core is making these relationships with community members.”
Fitch said community members can support the week by making donations to the Community Empowerment Fund as well as Nourish International.
While Nourish International addresses poverty on a broad, international scale, Quran and Fitch stressed the importance of community building.
“Our discussions are solution-based, and it’s such a large issue that we’re not trying to find the solution but what we can do to ease poverty and help homeless individuals at a grassroots level,” Quran said.
“We don’t want it to stop at a week,” she said. “It’s been such a problem in America for such a long time and will continue to be if we sit back and watch it increase and develop into something that could be unfixable one day if we don’t take action now.”
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