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VIDEO: UC Students Experience 36 Hours of Homelessness for Service Learning Project

Students in MJ Woeste's Intercultural Communication class recently spent 36 hours downtown for the homelessness experience. This was the 10th year Woeste has taken students through the service learning experience.

Date: 11/12/2013 7:00:00 AM
By: Courtney Danser
Phone: (513) 556-8577

UC ingot   University of Cincinnati students from MJ Woeste's Intercultural Communication class walked into City Gospel Mission for the 10th year on Oct. 25 to participate in a homelessness experience, spending 36 hours in Cincinnati with little money, food and sleep.

By spending a weekend with homeless men in downtown Cincinnati and learning about what homeless people go through every day, Woeste hopes students will leave the experience with a better understanding of the homeless community.

"I think the importance of exposing students to something they wouldn't be exposed to otherwise like addiction and homelessness and hunger, poverty in general, is a positive thing to do," says Woeste, a professor educator of communication in the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.

During the homelessness experience, students are given a small amount of money and tasks for the day. Some of the tasks include: finding a way to the VA hospital, panhandling for money, buying a fellow homeless person a meal, and learning about the services offered to homeless people downtown. 

At the end of the day, students were exhausted emotionally, mentally and physically. 

"There was one point where my group went to Fountain Square and we sat down in a chair and of course there was emotional music playing over the loud speaker and we almost all like broke down," says student Sarah Jernigan. "We just sat there in silence and it was unspoken but we needed a moment to regain our thoughts and just keep going."

And even though the experience is hard on students, they admit that it is a positive experience.

"I'm going to appreciate things so much more because I recognize how often people struggle in the small things like food and sleep and cold," says student Dani Clark. "It's definitely eye opening."

For more information about the experience:

Reflecting on 10 Years, Countless Lessons from Homelessness Experience

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