Sleeping rough for SVP


By Aisling Kett

One cardboard camp.  Roughly 20 students. A jumble of sleeping bags and handmade signs. It could only be the DCU SVP 24 hour sleep out.

From 2pm on Wednesday February 22nd to 2pm the next day, I took part in the sleep out. As secretary of the DCU SVP society I was involved in organising the event, which aimed to help raise awareness of homelessness and the society.

We made a convincing bunch of homeless people. Armed with cardboard, sleeping bags and layers of clothes it was embarrassingly obvious that we were sleeping rough for the night.

The sleep out didn’t get off to a great start when it began to rain on us as we set up camp. Our cardboard was damp within minutes.

However, as the day progressed and we got comfortable in our temporary home, there was a great atmosphere in the camp. People would pause and chat when they stopped to donate or provide us with food. Others would sit down and join us for an hour or two. Anyone with a guitar was immediately convinced to busk for us.

The generosity of people was unbelievable. By the second day we were turning people away when they offered to buy us food. We filled at least one shopping bag with biscuits alone. All the leftover food will keep SVP stocked up for our Tuesday night soup run for weeks to come.

I didn’t feel cold until I woke up at around 7am on Thursday. At that stage it was bitterly cold. It was strange to wake up and find myself under open sky on campus, empty apart from my sleeping companions.

The last hour and a half of the sleep out was my favourite time. Delirious from lack of sleep and normal living conditions we sang, hollered and chanted at passers-by. When the last minute finally arrived we counted down the seconds until it was time to disband our camp.

Then it was over and normality resumed. They were a mad 24 hours but just crazy enough to be fantastic fun.

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