Bennion Center Sleeps Out for Homelessness

By and

A group of students and faculty gathered Thursday night to learn about homelessness issues by spending the night on the free speech area outside the Union.

“We have the tendency in this society to blame the victims,” said Tara Adjamine, homelessness issues coordinator at the Bennion Community Service Center. “I’m hoping that through this event that students, who will become the decision makers, will make decisions with compassion and wisdom.”

The Bennion Center collected blankets, clothing and canned goods for the Crossroads Urban Center, the Utah Food Bank and The Road Home.

Students filled up on soup, bread, coffee and hot cocoa as they gathered around the fireplace at the Union Plaza.

Some attended to become more aware of homelessness issues, others came to meet new people.

“I’m sleeping out to express my desire to be more aware of homeless issues and express my concern that if we as a community don’t connect with each other, we won’t have anything left,” said Jessica Peterson, a student director of low-income services at the Bennion Center.

She also came to further her “real education” at the U.

“At the Bennion Center, I learn more about issues that affect me even if I don’t realize it,” she said.

“I came because my friends brought me,” said Mohammed Ali. “I wanted to meet people and make friends.”

Speakers, including Monty Hanks, client services manager at the Fourth Street Clinic, addressed the crowd of about 30.

“I grew up middle-class, I had no idea what was going on in my own backyard: people were going hungry and homeless,” he said.

He told the crowd not to think they couldn’t change things.

“One person can make a difference, it all starts at the grassroots,” he said.

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