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U of G students go without for a good cause

Annual event hopes to raise $15,000 for at-risk youth

Students at the University of Guelph are dedicating themselves to living outside without technology or the amenities of home for five days straight to raise money for at-risk youth.

The U of G College of Business and Economics Student Association has organized this fundraiser annually since about 2010. This year their team has a set a record high target of $15,000.

"The reason we raised the goal is because we surpassed last year’s goal," said Ashwin Lal. "Every time we've set a goal we've surpassed it by a lump sum. So what we believe is, maybe we were setting the bar too low."

As part of the fundraiser the team hosted a ball hockey game Tuesday and will continue to do events on campus while seeking donations from students, the community and corporate sponsors.

Wyndham House, an organization that assists at risk youth in the Guelph community, is partnering with students for the eighth year in a row as the recipient of donations.

"Those funds [raised] go directly into our long term program which supports youth 16 to 21 who can no longer stay at home, but are seeking to continue, re-engage and maintain educational goals," said Adam Metcalf, the case manager at Wyndham House. "It speaks volumes to the dedication and drive that (volunteers) have there to not just help the community, but their peers."

Scarlett Raczycki is the Local Affairs Commissioner at the U of G Central Student Association, and while she supports student involvement she also wants to remind folks that this is a band aid solution to larger problem.
"I think these kinds of initiatives are certainly admirable ... although I think there are more effective ways to really tackle the more systemic issues that cause homelessness," said Raczycki.

She said students energy could be directed towards [helping] tackle the more systemic systems of oppression and marginalization that causes homelessness and poverty in Canada.

Sarah Shephard is one of the volunteers who will be sleeping outside this week to help raise awareness and funds.

"I've been pretty privileged my whole life and I just wanted to experience some of the things that I take for granted everyday like not having a cell phone," said Shephard. "Personally, I believe that by raising awareness about the issue, we're slowly working towards a better solution for it, especially youth homelessness."
Volunteers will be on the Branion Plaza at the University of Guelph to collect donations, but you can also give online by visiting the five days for the homeless website.


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