Students step up for crash course in homelessness


After five days of living like a homeless person three years ago, business student Jean-François L'Ecuyer couldn't think straight. His logic was wonky from exhaustion - "Sleeping on the street is not sleeping," he says - and his body was sputtering from the sporadic, high-sugar foods strangers give him.

He'll do for it for the fourth time this year, as part of the annual 5 Days for the Homeless Campaign, and hopes to show other students what daily life is for the thousands of homeless people in Montreal.

The campaign, which kicked off Sunday night, gets students at 24 universities across Canada to spend their nights on the street with nothing but a cardboard box and a sleeping bag, and spend their days begging for food and change.

No cellphones, no Internet, no going home for a shower. And they must still attend class.

The idea is to show Canada's youth how good they have it compared to so many of their peers, and to raise money for homeless programs at the same time.

"These days we're talking about the student strike (against tuition increases), but it's important to be aware that there are people who have different realities," said L'Ecuyer, a forth-year student at HEC Montréal, one of four Montreal business schools taking part. UQAM, McGill University's Desautels Faculty of Management, and Concordia's John Molson School of Business are the others...

Read full article: The Gazette, March 12, 2012