Student-Led ‘Sleep-Out’ Gets National Attention

Post a Comment » Written on March 15th, 2006     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (March 15, 2006) – What began as a simple idea just more than a year ago has turned into a national event spearheaded by students at North Park University and attracting the attention of media across the country.

The national “Sleep-Out” event designed to raise public awareness of the increasing number of homeless individuals is being held March 31. The national event is the result of a sleep out organized last year in Chicago that attracted 300 students from 10 states, organized by North Park student Tim King (accompanying photo).

Tim King The students, which included 100 from North Park, distributed information about homelessness to people as they shopped along Chicago’s famous “Miracle Mile,” which is a stretch of Michigan Avenue north of the Chicago River that offers an upscale selection of well-known stores and pricey condominiums. The group also has pushed for enactment of legislation to address the needs of homeless people and reduce the level of homelessness in this country.

This year, a core group of 20 North Park students is organizing the national and Chicago events, says King, now a senior. They are maintaining a website to promote the event as well as provide information on homelessness. The students also have put together organizational packets for groups, answered emails from interested participants and handled other logistical issues. To learn more, visit the website at To The Streets.

The students have enlisted the aid of several national organizations to help with the event. Participating are Call to Renewal, the National Coalition for the Homeless, the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness, and Sojourners magazine.

Information on the group’s website outlines a number of ways that groups and individuals can support the effort, including some that do not include spending time in sleeping bags among the homeless, as many of the students do:

  • Neighborhood sleep-out
  • Sleep-out vigil
  • Community sleep-out
  • Virtual sleep-out

King says he already has been contacted by national media outlets that may cover the event. Most of the major media outlets, including the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, wrote about last year’s sleep-out.

The sleep-out was the result of an off-the-cuff idea that King mentioned while sitting around a table with colleagues during a student-led national conference on hunger and homelessness. “It’s kind of one of those things that if I would have thought of this at first, I never would have tried,” King said prior to last year’s event.

To read more of last year’s event, please visit the following:

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