UNK students sleep outside to spread homelessness awareness

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By Tim McNicholas

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Updated: Mon, 25 Nov 2013 08:47:48 CST

Temperatures could drop to 12 degrees tonight.

And several UNK students won't even have a roof over their heads. 

10 to 15 people will gather under the campus bell tower Friday night.

Instead of cranking up the heat they'll be unfolding their boxes.

Students are hoping to understand—even just a little bit—what it's like to be homeless.

"We are going to do it for one night,” Chi Sigma Iota Vice President Ramesh Neaupane said. “But there are people who do it their whole life. It's like getting some experience. Without feeling it you cannot tell how it is to be homeless."

Just one night—

But it's still no easy task convincing people to join them.

It takes a rare determination.

"I was so not ready for winter,” Freshman Kathleen Cullinan said.  “I was like, I just wanna crawl in a hole and be wrapped up in blankets."

One event organizer is from Nepal, where he sometimes found himself face to face with severe poverty.

He says here in Kearney, preventing the problem is better than having to fix it.

That's why they're still going forward with it...

Even with temperatures expected to sink below 20 degrees.

"It's challenging more right now for us,” Neaupane said. “It gives a good experience for us to aware people how it feels to be outside in this cold."

A guest speaker will be present from the Crossroads Center and a local musician is set to perform at 9 Friday night.

Not everyone's on board with sleeping out in the cold…

But they have the support of the student body.

"I think it's awesome,” Cullinan said. “I think it's a great way to get a point across that there's a lot of people out there who have to sleep outside every night of winter."

There was a possibility of the event being rescheduled if temperatures were to drop below 10 degrees.

It could get pretty close to that, but the plan is still to break out the boxes and sleep under the bell tower.

That event is open to the public.

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