Students experience homelessness

University of Lethbridge students are taking to the streets this week, all in a bid to raise awareness for the city's homelessness situation and possibly $15,000 in charitable donations.

The 5 Days for the Homeless campaign began late Sunday afternoon and runs through to Friday, Mar. 19 at 5 p.m. A cross-Canada program, 5 Days for the Homeless was founded at the University of Alberta's School of Business in 2005. The U of A students identified homelessness as a growing issue and wanted to give back to the community while at the same time changing the negative perception that business students are greedy and do not care about the community. The trio would give up creature comforts and basic necessities for five days to raise money and awareness for the Youth Emergency Shelter Society (YESS), a local charity.

Since that time, 5 Days has grown considerably with 17 schools participating in 2009, raising a record $174,492 and unparalleled awareness.

U of L students have targeted $15,000 as a goal for this year's campaign. A total of five students from the Management Students' Society are taking part and have set up cardboard box accommodations just outside the Students' Union building.

It is the third year that students from the U of L have taken part in the campaign and each year, donations have risen. In the first year, just under $8,000 was raised while last year's total surpassed $12,000, all of which was donated to Wood's Homes Foundation, a multi-service charity designed to serve the most troubled young people in the community.