Campus Ministry observes Homelessness Awareness

In observance of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week November 15-21, Campus Ministry hosted a series of educational programs and events aimed at heightening awareness and deepening understanding of the major issues of hunger and homelessness on a local and national scale.

The goal, noted Campus Ministry Director Father Robert Haberman, was to inspire confidence in students that their voices and actions are vital to initiate change.  By engaging in community service, providing opportunities for reflection, introducing students to local resources, and connecting real world issues with in-class learning, Campus Ministry put a face to hunger and homelessness and brought community together for a common cause.

Dominican students in a psychology class taught by Professor LeeAnn Bartolini wrote entries for a public blog that addressed mental illness and its link to chronic hunger and homelessness. Last January, six Dominican participated in the Marin County “Point in Time,” helping organizing the homeless count. Students and faculty partnered with Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity, a Marin based organization that focuses its efforts on youth homelessness (18-25).

Campus Ministry’s National Hunger and Awareness Week schedule featured daily events to help inform and educate students.  Ashton Wolffe, a member of the Siena Leadership Team and a sophomore Occupational Therapy major, was instrumental in organizing the activities.

On Monday, there was a “Clothespin and Ribbon Movement” during lunchtime on the Caleruega Dining Hall Plaza.  Informational clothespins and orange ribbons were  distributed to provide awareness facts and show support and solidarity for the hungry and homeless.

On Tuesday, students, faculty, and staff expressed their solidarity on “One Night Without A Home” when they slept overnight on Caleruega Dining Hall Plaza after reflecting on the various faces of homelessness and stereotypes of who the homeless are in society.  The event was covered by the Marin Independent Journal.

On Wednesday, the focus on campus was on “Civic Engagement.” During lunchtime on Caleruega Dining Hall Plaza, students were encouraged to write letters to Congress. In the afternoon they walked to downtown San Rafael to help register the homeless to vote in Marin County.

On Thursday, students during lunchtime learned about all aspects of mental illness awareness and mental health and its connection to homelessness. In the evening Campus Ministry staged its “Oxfam Hunger Banquet”  in the Garden Room, at Edgehill Mansion. The dinner program featured speakers who addressed world hunger and the divide in food resources.

On Friday at 8 p.m., students attended a “Movies with Meaning” a free screening of Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 in the Siena Center in Edgehill Mansion. The movie was followed by a reflection and discussion on challenging systemic injustice and fighting for dignity and resources for all.

Dominican’s inaugural National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week concluded on Saturday morning with a “Justice in Action,” a community service day at the Marin Food Bank.

November, 2015