SILD hosts ‘Box City’


Erik Anderson, Northern Star file photo- Trenton Fuller, sophomore theater studies major, checks out his “bed” Thursday night at Box City in the MLK Commons.

By Juliana Leprich

To most people, cold is just a temporary feeling: the walk from the house to the mailbox or the open window that can be quickly shut.

To the 671,859 homeless in the United States, cold is unavoidable.

Student Involvement and Leadership Development hosted Box City on Thursday night to create awareness for homeless people as a part of SILD’s Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week. Box City was also sponsored by Push America, the national philanthropy of Pi Kappa Phi, which helps serve people with disabilities.

Students could rent boxes to build a box home to sleep in for the night. A donation of $5 bought four boxes. Proceeds from this event went to local homeless shelter Hope Haven.

Joe Hartsoe, senior political science major and student staff member at SILD, planned Box City.

“I think the biggest thing [people should take away from this event] is that people who are homeless don’t choose to be homeless,” Hartsoe said. “I think there’s just too much of a culture where we see someone on the street and we think they made a bad life choice or deserve it for some reason.”

Some NIU students who came out for the event found it challenging and eye opening.

“No matter how many layers you put on, you can’t stay warm in 20 degree weather,” said sophomore nursing major, Faith Stauersboll. “There is no way homeless people can stay warm.”

Some students also came out to support the cause.

“I wanted to show my support for all of the [homeless] people,” said Dan Jeffries, freshman biochemistry major.

Hartsoe said he hopes Box City will become an annual event.

“We would love to continue this and establish it,” Hartsoe said. “We believe that students need to be aware of the world around them.”