By Emily Yearwood
It’s hard to persuade students to sleep outdoors in November — even for a good cause.
Only nine Ryerson students showed up last Saturday night for Coping with the Cold, a RyeSAC-sponsored sleepover outside Pitman Hall that was supposed to raise cash and public awareness of homelessness.
Participants collected donations on behalf of Project Warmth, a Toronto organization that gives sleeping bags to homeless people. They also smiled for media cameras — including CityTV — that covered the event.
Organizer Komal Bhandari, who also runs the Women’s Centre, said they’d planned to get more participants from other schools. Only a few attended.
Bhandari said she wasn’t sure how much money was raised, but it was nowhere near what she’d hoped for. “It wasn’t six thousand dollars, which was our original goal, but that was when U of T was supposed to bring us two bus loads [of student participants],” she said.
“It’s the first time we’ve done it, so it’s sort of a crap shoot,” said RyeSAC v.p. education Cory Wright. “If it does happen again next year, I would definitely put more planning into it.”
Bhandari said she decided to hold the sleepover when she met several Ryerson students who were forced to stay in shelters because they had nowhere else to go.
Although most Pitman residents ignored the campers, a few were supportive. “I think it’s really effective,” said first-year RTA student Aaron Fitchett. “I was oblivious to the fact that some Ryerson students aren’t as privileged as myself.”