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Hope for Humanity raises awareness

By Dion J. Pierre (Staff Writer)   The Student Center dining area is not the liveliest place on Friday nights, but on April 19, cardboard boxes lined the room.

  Students of Hofstra Hope for Humanity gathered to create awareness for homelessness and the rising costs of living that displace many from being able to dwell in a proper home.

  “The cardboard boxes represent homelessness,” said sophomore George Calvo, president of Hofstra Hope for Humanity. “A lot of times homeless people have to use extreme ways to stay warm and dry, and a lot of times they do that with cardboard housing.”

  Calvo started the club, which focuses on issues such as homelessness and substandard housing conditions, after attending last year’s Alternative Spring Break trip. Those trips worked in association with Habitat for Humanity, and took place on Long Island and El Paso, Texas.

  “A lot of people are either homeless or living in substandard housing conditions,” said Calvo.

  The event was originally scheduled to take place on Calkins Quad, but was moved indoors due to the weather. Even though they were not able to sleep outdoors, students brought their sleeping bags to rest in the dining area. During the event, members of group made homes out of cardboard clustered together to symbolize the effects of homelessness.

  Terry Greis, Hofstra’s Sustainability Officer, discussed how homelessness on Long Island affects college students. “For our young people going out there is a big issue about affordable housing,” said Greis. “We’re losing the working force here on Long Island. They can’t afford to live here. The property taxes are too high and when we lose that we’re going to have grave concerns here. We are going to have an aging population which at some point is not going to be able to afford [housing] also.”

  Pat Carlin, a junior from New Jersey, was very moved by the event. “This brings awareness to a growing problem,” said Carlin. “You get to see what other people go through...Hofstra sometimes is like a little bubble, so this can help you understand what’s happening outside that bubble.”

Sustainability Officer Teresa Greis helped students build makeshift homes in the Student Center dining room on Friday. The event was moved indoors due to rain.

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