Campout gives students homeless night experience

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   Dixie State University students gathered to build cardboard houses and sleep under the stars Friday in an attempt to gain insight on the lives of the homeless.

   Students spent the night on DSU’s Encampment Mall in makeshift cardboard homes.

   John Brooksby, coordinator of clubs and service, is the Dixie Serves club adviser and said he wants more students to be aware of the local homeless community and serve others. He said there are plenty of opportunities to give back. 

   Dixie Serves club helped organize the Cardboard Campout and focuses on serving the community. Service Representive Dillon McKinney, a junior math major from St. George, represents the Dixie Serves club and said he wants more students to get involved. 

   “The Service Council wants to make a big impact, and we would love student feedback and participation,” McKinney said.

   You can get information about the Dixie Serves club by visiting its Facebook page. 

   Students attending the Cardboard Campout were asked to bring two non-perishable food items to help replenish DSU’s food pantry.

   “It’s always good to give food to those in need,” said Gabby Williams, a junior music major from Las Vegas. “I don’t think many students would be donating food if it were not for this campout.”

   Jae Maxfield, executive director at Dixie Care and Share, attended the event to provide more information about the lives of homeless men and women in Washington County.

   Maxfield said there are people who utilize Dixie Care and Share who are not the stereotypical homeless person. He said 40 percent of people who visit the shelter are women and children, and it is not easy escaping poverty when children are involved.

   “Be empathetic for those struggling and trying to better their lives,” Maxfield said.

   Students like Jaye Warnes, a freshman biology major from Tuscon, Ariz., came to the campout to gain a better understanding of what homeless people experience.

   “I think students are going to have a better appreciation of their material things and be more grateful for the things we take for granted,” Warnes said.

   Dixie President Carlos Morgan said the event is an important tradition at DSU, and he was glad to be a part of it. 

   For one evening, students who attended the cardboard campout were able to narrow the gap between their lives and the lives of homeless.

   “The purpose of this event is great,” Brooksby said.