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Six Telfer students spent five days living the life of the homeless

Jesse Mellott | Fulcrum Staff

For the third consecutive year, the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management took part in 5 Days for the Homeless, an event that had students living on the streets for five days while raising money and awareness for the homeless in Ottawa.

From March 10 at 5 p.m. to March 15 at 5 p.m., 22 universities from across Canada participated in 5 Days for the Homeless. Each university chose a charity to donate to and then took up residence outdoors on their campus. U of O chose Operation Come Home, which focuses on employment, education, and support for homeless and at-risk youth.

Patrick Douville, Daniel Gauthier, Asmait Hailu, Pierce Colley, Ashley Rosa, and Angelika Athanasoulias represented the U of O this year and spent the week approaching their peers, opening a dialogue about homelessness, and hoping for donations.
Colley, a third-year marketing student, explained out that Operation Come Home is grateful for but not depending on the money they raise.

“We have a chance to visit the facility and learn where our money will be going,” said Colley. It’s interesting because they don’t budget, so they don’t count on the money that we are raising, so the money that we do make is almost a bonus for them; either way, if we reach our goal or not, it will be an added value to them.”

In terms of donations, Colley explained that the focus was on monetary donations as opposed to food, in the hopes of making the most out of the short fundraising period.

“Everyone has been really kind in terms of food donations, but we’re really trying to emphasize money because we’re only out here for five days,” he said.

Hailu, a fourth-year marketing student, stated that 5 Days for the Homeless was possible because of strong support from student council and the Telfer School.

“Student council has been paramount in helping us,” said Hailu. “They basically funded us, they covered all of our costs because it is a [student] council event, and it is a Telfer event. I can’t stress enough how wonderful they have been and how helpful they have been—they completely support the cause, and so does our faculty.”

According to Colley, there are a number of rules put in place by both 5 Days and the universities that participants must follow in order to take part.

“For university [policy] it’s not allowed to affect school at all, so we do have to go to class, any lectures, and so forth,” Colley explained. “On top of 5 Days [policy], we’re not allowed to have any money on us, we’re only allowed to have our health card and student card. We are only allowed to accept food donations, we’re not allowed to go buy anything, and we’re only allowed to bring five pairs of socks and five pairs of underwear and the clothes that you see us wearing.”

National donations for 2013 are currently totaled at over $14 million, and donations from the 5 Days for the Homeless campaigns are just beginning to roll in. Anyone looking to learn more about 5 Days, read blogs by participants, or make a donation can visit