Cardboard building contest to let students ‘become’ homeless

Lucy Hough

Homelessness is a problem the entire nation faces, and on Thursday, Oct. 2 beginning at 6 p.m., a contingent of NMU students will be offering a helping hand to non-profit groups in the Marquette community to help with that problem.

The Progressive Student Roundtable will be hosting the Hidden City competition in which groups of students can compete to prepare the most sturdy and creative cardboard homes.

Students will spend the evening constructing homes out of primarily cardboard, but may also use rope, tape or cloth.

Students participating in the event are encouraged to bring their own building materials, as the Progressive Student Roundtable only has a limited amount of cardboard for the event.

Construction will run from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., and at least two members from each group must remain in the homes throughout the night. Judging will occur the following morning and will be based on size, creativity and functionality.

“Just try to use the cardboard creatively, and create support with sturdier cardboard so it doesn’t fall on you if it rains,” said Amanda Davison, vice chair of the Progressive Student Roundtable.

All participating organizations must bring at least $10 or ten canned food items, and any group of people can participate: fraternities, sororities, dorm halls or just a group of friends. All donations will go to the local Women’s Shelter and St. Vincent de Paul of Marquette.

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, around 3 million people will experience homelessness either in shelters or on the streets throughout the year. Youth homelessness is increasing as many children, after leaving foster homes, have nowhere to go and end up homeless. With housing costs continually rising, entire families have been forced to the streets.

“Homelessness is one of our nation’s most misunderstood and overlooked problems,” said Jason Morgan, Progressive Student Roundtable chair. “The event is for a good cause. It is unique, interesting, and should prove to be quite exciting.”

The Women’s Shelter offers domestic violence crisis intervention and counseling and also helps with the Harbor House Shelter in Marquette which assists the housing and feeding of people, especially those who are victim to domestic violence throughout the area. One of the tools used for helping people is a food bank.

“All donations that we get go directly to our patients,” said Melissa Arbelius, program director at the Women’s Shelter. “Right now, our pantry is running really low.”

In a time when the economy is becoming increasingly unstable, homelessness is a very real problem.

“This event helps raise awareness of our own fortunes, and raise funds and food for those hit hardest by the difficult times (our economy is) facing,” said Brandon Schlacht, active progress chairman of the Progressive Student Roundtable.

At the event, this organization will also offer food from a buffet similar in fashion to a “soup kitchen” and a fire barrel.

“(The Hidden City competition) is open to everyone,” Morgan said. “We want the academic mall just packed full of cardboard homes.”