The UCD branch of St Vincent de Paul (UCDSVP) raised over €4,500 during their Homeless Week, which took place two weeks ago.

Student volunteers for UCDSVP slept outside the James Joyce Library during the week, and also collected money at a stand they have constructed there.

Photo courtesy of UCD SVPPhoto courtesy of UCD SVP

This is the second year that such an event has taken place in UCD; the UCDSVP report to have raised an estimated €6,500 at the same event in 2008.

Although this year’s figures appears to be down on the previous, the number of volunteers involved in this year’s benefit has increased. The total number of people taking part in the sleep-out on the Monday night was up from 14 last year to 25.

The final event of the week, the Big Sleep Out held on Thursday 12thNovember, saw the society invite all members of the student body to join the sleepout, in a bid to raise awareness of homelessness.

The majority of funds were raised from small cash donations made by passing students, but most UCDSVP members who slept outdoors during the entire week also received donations from friends, family and other sponsors for their efforts of the fundraiser.

The society also held a raffle in conjunction with the UCD Musical Society during their production of The Wedding Singer.  Funds were also raised from the sale of disused clothes at a swapshop in partnership with the UCD Young Greens. In addition, the UCD Vegetarian Society held a cake sale on Tuesday, in conjunction with the Greens, which raised €250.

Other societies also helped in raising funds. UCD Film Society held a screening for the volunteers on the Wednesday night, and Belfield FM devoted some of its airtime to covering the sleep-out.

UCDSVP Society auditor, Kevin Conlon, said that the event “was comfortable but realistically speaking, it wasn’t true homelessness by a long shot. The fact that you had no home to go to for the week and knowing that was the cusp of coming close to homelessness.

“What was different from last year was the rain. I suppose knowing that you’re going to be wet and damp for the night and very uncomfortable with the chances of getting sick out of it isn’t a pleasant way of spending a night – not to mention the gardening that was going on in the mornings!”

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