Students get cold to ‘share the warmth’

Students Against Poverty raises over $500 for the North Kingston Community Health Centre

Members of Students Against Poverty spent 12 hours outside on Tuesday to raise awareness for homelessness.
Members of Students Against Poverty spent 12 hours outside on Tuesday to raise awareness for homelessness.
Photo: 
During its Share the Warmth week, Students Against Poverty raised more than $500, which will go towards the North Kingston Community Health Centre.
During its Share the Warmth week, Students Against Poverty raised more than $500, which will go towards the North Kingston Community Health Centre.
Photo: 

I was standing outside, and my fingers were so cold they actually started to ache.

I couldn’t stop shivering for about 30 minutes after I had got out of the cold, and I had only been outside for about two hours.

With seven other students on Tuesday, I got a taste of what it’s like to be homeless in the middle
of Kingston’s winter. Students against Poverty, a committee under the AMS Social issues Commission does an “Out in the Cold” event every year to raise money for the North Kingston Community Health Centre, a Share the Warmth project that helps people from low-income families pay their utilities bill.

Share the Warmth is an organization that funds community programs that provide emergency heat and energy for people who can’t afford it.

“Once it gets dark, it’ll probably start to get colder,” said Jenny Whyte, ArtSci ’09 and Students against Poverty co-chair. “I can’t imagine what it would be like to actually live on the street.”

The event was part of a weeklong awareness campaign. Other events included a chili fest at Clark Hall Pub, an open-mic night at the Common Ground, a used clothing sale that continues today in the JDUC, and a candy necklace sale at Alfie’s tonight. as of Wednesday night, the group had raised more than $500. From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, the group sold pancakes and spoke to passersby about their
cause. Three of the committee members stood outside for 12 hours in order to raise awareness about people in Kingston who struggle to stay warm in the winter, including homeless people and people from
low-income homes. Not many students stopped by during classes while I was there, but when classes changed, people would come to the booth and either ask what was going on or buy pancakes.

Some just donated money. The group had a mat set up with a sign similar to that of a homeless person. Whyte said the sign was a way to connect the issue to homeless people as well, and the mat was to act as a visual reminder of the homeless people in Kingston we see on Princess Street all the time.

Whyte said the student response was OK. “It’s hard to explain the issue to people as they’re walking by,” she said, adding that if people knew more about the issues at hand, they might be more willing to donate. Committee member Josephine Kwong, ArtSci ’09, said peopletend to associate poverty with faroff places.

“When people think of poverty, they think of overseas, and they forget about poverty in Canada, in
Kingston,” she said. “People in our own country need help, so we need to remember to help each other
as well.” Kwong added that spending 12 hours out in the cold is a good learning experience, but it doesn’t truly emulate what it’s like for people who are homeless.

“I’m actually wearing three pairs of pants but ... other people don’t have that,” she said. Marc Clauser, ScI ’09, said he stopped to buy pancakes because the event made him put himself in the shoes of someone in that position.

“The cold sucks, and I wouldn’t want to be in the cold if I couldn’t pay my bills,” he said. Social Issues Commissioner Allison Williams commended the group for raising awareness on a common but seldom acknowledged issue.

“Poverty is one of the social issues that gets overlooked a lot at university,” she said. “Students
here who aren’t from affluent backgrounds may struggle. … There’s a lot of shame attached with poverty, which is unfortunate.” Janet Heyman, is a community outreach worker with the North Kingston Community Health Centre.

“We help many, many different groups of people—those living in poverty. They have family doctors,
seniors’ programs, programs for children and youth, they do prenatal stuff, outreach programs, utilities outreach. We try to help people, prevent homelessness—I guess that’s the better word.”

Referendum Results

(Per Cent)Question:Yes NoSpoiled
Best Buddies—establishment of $0.50 fee (opt-outable) 71.64 27.20 2.08
the Chat Program—continuation of $0.65 fee (opt-outable) 66.81 31.76 2.34
the Earth Centre—establishment of a $0.50 fee (opt-outable) 80.62 18.61 1.69Support for Fall Reading Week 33.82 64.69 2.41
Queen’s First Aid Community training—establishment of a $0.50 fee (opt-outable) 84.49 13.76 1.67Keep a Child Alive—establishment of a $0.20 fee (opt-outable) 84.29 14.68 1.96
Positive Space Program—continuation of $0.25 fee (opt-outable) 75.24 23.49 2.2
Queen’s Project on International Development—increase from $0.50 to $2 (opt-out) 71.59 27.52 1.81
the Queen’s Sailing team—establishment of a $0.70 fee (opt-outable) 51.46 47.43 2.03
Queen’s Sports Industry Conference—increase from $0.60 to $1 (opt-outable) 53.32 45.64 1.96
Queen’s Student Constables—continuation of $3.74 fee (mandatory) 72.56 62.09 2.27
Queen’s Students Interested in Medical Sciences—establishment of a $0.50 fee (opt) 62.44 36.54 1.93
Students taking Action Now: Darfur—establishment of a $0.90 fee (opt-outable) 76.08 23.15 1.69Walkhome—increase from $12.09 to $13.09 (mandatory) 63.38 35.72 1.81

ASUS Election Results

  • President: Elamin Abdelmahmoud
  • Vice-President: Hakim Kassam
  • Two-year senators: Brooks Burnett, Matthew Lombardi
  • One-year senator: Quynh Huynh, Max B. Rubin
  • ASUS representative to AMS: Andrea Greschner, Eva O’Brien,
  • ’07 Permanent Society President: Keegan Tupchong
  • ’07 Permanent Society Vice-President: Ani Cokelessian
  • ’08 Society President: Jeff Warshafsky
  • ’08 Vice-President: Sheri Krell
  • ’09 President: Kieva hranshuk
  • ’09 Vice-President: Michael Paskewitz
  • ’10 President: John Wintermeyer
  • ’10 Vice-President: Michael tighe

PHESA Elections

Voting in PHESA elections takes place today from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Upper PEC. Students are required to present their student card in order to vote.

Candidates are:

  • President: Adam McClure
  • Vice-President operations: Erin Sadler and Lindsay Morris-Pocock
  • Vice-President University Affairs: Christine Soon

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