Camperdown students sleep rough to raise awareness about homelessness

Camperdown students slept on cardboard on the cold, hard floor recently to get a feeling of what it’s like to be homeless. 

The Mercy Regional College students slept in the school gymnasium on the last week of term two in support of St Vincent de Paul Society’s CEO sleepout.

Action: Mercy Regional College students slept rough as part of the St Vincent de Paul winter sleepout to raise awareness of the growing issue of homelessness.

Action: Mercy Regional College students slept rough as part of the St Vincent de Paul winter sleepout to raise awareness of the growing issue of homelessness.

The sleepout challenges businesses and community leaders to sleep rough for one night  to raise awareness of the growing issue of homelessness.

Teacher and social justice co-ordinator Caitlin Rix said 24 students in years 7 and 8 and six staff members slept on cardboard in sleeping bags. “They definitely felt it was cold and uncomfortable,” Miss Rix said. “Not many of them got the best night’s sleep. They did say it was challenging.” 

She said the students were excited to say they did something tangible. “It definitely gave them the experience of what it’s like to be homeless for a night,” she said.

“As a school we like to be able to do things in solidarity. It’s all well and good to give donations but to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes and experience what that may be like was what we wanted to achieve from the night.”

Students also donated money or a new pair of socks, which will be given to St Vincent de Paul Camperdown and the Melbourne branch respectively. 

“All of the students got behind the collection,” Miss Rix said. “It wasn’t just the 24 kids who did the sleepout, the whole school showed their support in different ways so it was really good.”

Miss Rix said based on the success of this year’s winter sleepout they would hold another one next year and open it up to other year levels at the college.