DCU students sleep in the snow for charity

Over €2,500 was raised by the DCU St Vincent De Paul society from their second ever 24-hour sleepout last week.

The “homeless camp” housed twenty people for the night with the numbers varying over the entire twenty-four hours. At least two volunteers didn’t leave the camp at all and most just left for a couple of hours for lectures or meetings.

The sleepout was originally planned for two weeks previously but was called off due to bad weather. The weather on Monday however was less than ideal with the participants experiencing snow showers throughout the night.

Aine Gilmartin, the society’s secretary, said that “despite the cold snowy weather everyone’s spirits were high and the atmosphere was just as good as last year if not better even though we were freezing.”

The sleepout  raises awareness surrounding the problem of homelessness in Dublin and Aisling Kett, co- Chairperson of the society, said “People really were so generous when we were doing the sleepout with donations but also I think sleeping out in that weather raised a lot of awareness for what homeless people go through, at least I hope it did. Because though we ended up sleeping out on a really rough night they have to go through that every night, whatever the weather.”

The sleepout is also an important part of the society’s calendar. Claire Healy, Co-Chairperson, thinks that it’s really important: “While it helps us raise money and awareness, it’s also great fun despite the terrible weather we had this year. People pop down for a while and join us, and the lads bringing down their guitars was brilliant, there’s a real social element to it.”

The money raised will go towards buying sleeping bags, gloves and hats for the homeless people the society meet on their weekly soup runs.

Shauna O’Toole the society’s Volunteer Co-ordinator believes the event has a big impact on campus and on the students who participate in it. “The sleepout was an event that brought anyone who wanted to make a difference in DCU together. The most memorable moment was when we all woke up covered in a blanket of snow.”

Eimear Phelan

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