Students to Spend Five Days Homeless

March 11, 2010 - News Release

Without access to shelter, money or showers, five Guelph business students will spend March 14 to 19 on campus experiencing what it's like to be homeless.

It's all part of "5 Days for the Homeless," an annual Canada-wide initiative that aims to raise money and boost awareness of homelessness. Proceeds from the Guelph campaign will go to Wyndham House, a local organization that provides co-operative housing for youth.

The U of G participants this year aim to raise $7,500.

During the five days, they 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.

“Homelessness can affect any of us,” says Suba Naganathan, a fifth-year marketing management student who’s participating in this year’s event. “Economic downturns, unfortunate circumstances and systemic social problems can all lead to poverty. Poverty and homelessness can be invisible to onlookers. These individuals can be the young woman in your marketing class or the young man having a coffee beside you at the café. I think it’s important for us to tackle this initiative because it has the potential to touch all of us.”

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

“I’m looking forward to the conversations I’ll have with people throughout this week,” says Naganathan. “I want to understand what people’s perspectives are on this issue and to facilitate some education. I’m also looking forward to building great relationships with the other participants. We’ll be sharing something that we’ll remember for a lifetime.”

U of G is among 21 universities across Canada taking part in the fundraiser. The students will be homeless from March 14 at 5 p.m. until March 19 at 5 p.m. The Guelph campaign features an official launch on Branion Plaza March 15 at 9 a.m.

Members of the U of G group will be sharing their experiences through a blog that links to the campaign site. Pledges can be made online at or in person at the students’ home base on Branion Plaza.

For media questions, Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, Ext. 53338, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982,

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