Members of Centre College’s Alpha Phi Omega: Theta Theta chapter will host “Think Outside the Box,” a 12-hour event starting Friday, Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. and ending at 6 a.m. the next morning. The initiative is part of the Poverty & Homelessness Week and serves as a fundraiser and educational opportunity.
“Each hour of the event has an activity tied to poverty and homelessness,” said Bhavani Gudlavalleti ‘19, a member of the Poverty & Homelessness Week committee. “This year, we are diving into learning more about Appalachians who are experiencing poverty and/or homelessness. For example, we will watch “October Sky” and discuss how the movie highlights the problems Appalachians and coal mining towns are facing.”
In addition, a variety of activities, discussions, games and food will be available to help the campus community engage with the challenges of poverty and homelessness in Eastern Kentucky.
“This is a drop-in event, so everyone is welcome to come whenever they are available throughout the evening,” said committee member Lauren Rutledge ’19. “The first half, 6 p.m. to midnight, will be in the Campus Center, while for the second half, midnight to 6 a.m., we will move outside to the campus lawn.”
Rutledge describes the goals of this event as two-fold.
“First, we want to raise awareness of poverty and homelessness, deconstruct the harmful misconceptions about Eastern Kentucky and explore ways in which we can assist and empower those struggling with poverty and homelessness,” she said. “Second, we are raising money for the Poverty & Homelessness Week philanthropy The Backpack Club, which provides food for children of all ages that are struggling with food insecurity in three counties of Eastern Kentucky.
“Nine students have made the commitment to participate in all 12 hours of ‘Think Outside the Box,’ and we are asking for donation sponsorships for these nine students,” she continued. “All donations will go to The Backpack Club. If you’d like to donate, please contact Hannah Gibbs at email@example.com for details.”
Gudlavalleti said she hopes the underclassmen and faculty and staff members in attendance will return next year and participate in this initiative again.
“Last year, when I was a participant, I enjoyed talking and discussing reflective questions to students that I didn’t know so well,” she added. “There was a bond of camaraderie between the participants last year in the early morning hours.”
According to Rutledge, this is an important event for students to attend, because it was created for students by students.
“Our committee has put in a lot of time and energy to make the activities fun and exciting,” she concluded. “Each person who spends their Friday evening at our event is actively choosing to join us, and that is meaningful to us.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
November 16, 2018