Students Take Part in 5 Days for the Homeless Campaign

March 07, 2008 - News Release

Without access to shelter, money or showers, a group of business students will spend March 9 to 14 on campus experiencing what it's like to be homeless as part of the national "5 Days for the Homeless" fundraiser.

The aim of the initiative is to raise money and awareness of homelessness, with proceeds from the Guelph fundraiser going to Wyndham House, a local organization that provides co-operative housing for youth.

Just like many homeless people, the four students will sleep outdoors, and their only nourishment will come from those who donate meals to them. They must remain on campus the entire week, attend all their classes and maintain employment and extracurricular activities.

"I certainly expect it to be difficult, but I am fortunate in that I know I can return to my normal life, which is not the case for those who are actually homeless," said Dian Chaaban, a member of the College of Management and Economics Students' Association (CMESA) who helped organize the fundraiser. "We truly don’t know how lucky we are until something is taken away, and I think it's great that we have brought this remarkable campaign to Guelph."

Homelessness is a reality for an estimated 33,000 Canadians, and about one-third of these people are youth.

The campaign, which was first run in 2006, was created by three University of Alberta business students as a way to support the disadvantaged and help change public perceptions of business students. This is the first year business students from other universities are taking part in the event.

“There's a stereotype that business students are focused on money and that we don't care about giving back to the community,” said Michael Holden, CMESA president and project manager of the fundraiser. “This week gives us a chance to bring attention to a chronic problem, and it solidifies our belief that there's more to business than the bottom line.”

U of G is among 10 universities from across Canada taking part in the fundraiser. The students will be homeless from March 9 at 5 p.m. until March 14 at 5 p.m.

The Guelph group will be sharing their experiences through a blog that links to the campaign site. Pledges to the four students can be made on this site or in person.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338,, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982,

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1