Box Town Raises Awareness Amidst Cold Temperatures
Box Town is a tradition on the St. John Fisher College campus for Students With A Vision (SWAV) to raise awareness about homelessness by sleeping in cardboard boxes on a cold night. And this year’s event was no exception.
The event took place in November during “Four Freedoms” Week, and participants raised $175. Students Alex Petrocci, Daniel Douangratdy, Andre Remillard, Ryan Funke, James Hently, and Kim Olfano each secured a monetary sponsor to forego their comfortable residence hall and sleep outside in a box from 8:30 p.m. - 5:30 a.m. The money raised went to the Rochester Center for Youth, an organization that takes homeless teenagers off of the street. This is the first year that students have stayed in the boxes all night long.
Lindsey Kocher, SWAV President, said that she is making strides to make this event's impact bigger and better every year for the campus and for the community. She plans to promote with more advertisements campus-wide in an effort to attract more participation.
“I hope that more people become aware of how it would feel to live in a box in the cold with very few things and to only rely on yourself,” she said. “The Fisher community really is a Fisher family, and the world could benefit from the Fisher family branching off to help more homeless people in other areas.”
Box Town participants said they were comforted by students they had never met who offered food and blankets. They also said they “appreciated the little things in life” that kept them occupied in the cold including storytelling to pass time, and having a hot fire or cup of coffee to stay warm.
One of the goals of the event, according to Kocher, is to spread the idea that the homeless deserve a shot at having someone care enough for them to help them live in a safer, healthier place. She also said they deserve a chance not to be judged by stereotypes.
Senior Andre Remillard described his first experience in Box Town as a chance to support a cause while also having fun with friends.
Unfortunately, since the event took place on one of the coldest nights of the year, Remillard suffered frostbitten toes, which made it even more real for him.
“It really makes you appreciate what you have every day, having a roof over your head and warmth,” he said.