Cardboard Village raises awareness, empathy

The Mercyhurst chapter of Habitat for Humanity is raising awareness on the issue of homelessness by sponsoring Cardboard Village. Cardboard Village is an interactive fundraiser in which students experience what it is like to be homeless for a day.

The event will raise money for the American Red Cross to help ease the suffering of those individuals who are now homeless in the face of natural disasters. Through the construction of a shelter made of cardboard and tarp, participants gain first-hand exposure to some of the trials and tribulations faced by those without shelter on a daily basis.

This will be the fourth year that Cardboard Village has been on the Mercyhurst campus.

Junior Chelsea Morris, the event’s coordinator, offered some insight into the event, stating, “Anyone can participate. You don’t have to be a member of a certain club. I really wanted to make the event bigger this year and hopefully reach more people.

“This is the first year that RSCOs (Recognized Student Clubs and Organizations) have been able to sponsor a box, and we’ve had a really good turnout of clubs eager to participate. We have around 10 that have fully committed to sponsoring a box,” Morris said.

Morris added that in addition to the clubs participating, there are about 30 students signed up to participate, whether overnight or just for a short period of time. There are also another 20 students who have mentioned online that they are attending the event.

Each club participating in the event pays $5 to sponsor a box. Morris said she hopes to raise about $150 this year through participation fees and any donations that people make to support the event.

Students who are not able to spend the night are still encouraged to help out.

“We’ll need help setting up the village Wednesday morning, as well as tearing it down Thursday afternoon,” said Morris. “Students can also help out by donating funds or actually participating in the event. Moral support also goes a long way. If you are unable to donate time or money, just stop by the event on your way to class and give support for the cause.”

The event has caused quite a bit of buzz around campus and has gotten the interest of many students.

Freshman Alli Bell thinks the idea of Cardboard Village is extremely inspiring and is hoping to attend the event.

“I like the idea of raising awareness through a way which actually interacts with the student body. The fact that it’ll burst the Mercyworld bubble, if only temporarily, is not only inspiring in its rarity but also ingenious in its execution,” Bell said.

Sophomore David Bott hopes to attend the event as well. “It seems to be for a good cause—raising awareness is always a good thing,” he said.

The event lasts from 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 5, until 12 p.m. on Thursday, October 6. Set-up and tear-down are scheduled immediately before and after the event.