Cal State Fullerton Students Sleep in Boxes Tonight to See How the Other Half Lives

Categories: School Daze

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Homeless shelter
I recall a fellow in college sleeping on an abandoned mattress in the field next to his apartment when the intricacies of properly placing an entry key in a front-door lock were more than his pickled brain could handle late one night.

But the Cal State Fullerton students who plan to sleep in boxes tonight say they are doing so on purpose--and presumably without the aide of controlled and uncontrolled substances.

"Box City," as they are calling tonight's makeshift dormitory, is intended to raise awareness about the homeless population in Orange County, according to Zoha Bootwala, speaking to the Weekly on behalf of fellow Masters of Social Work students of 2015 at CSUF.

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The event in front of the library aims to demonstrate how thousands of men, women and children sleep in Orange County every night and was coordinated with Orange-based nonprofit Family Promise, which assists homeless families. Family Promise Director Casey Crosby and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) are scheduled to appear and offer words of encouragement starting at 6 tonight.

"Together, we can bring awareness to this issue and fight against injustice," says Bootwala, whose college-age idealism is so adorable I'm heading to that empty field in San Dimas right now to see if the old mattress is still there.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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58 comments
Kanani Fong
Kanani Fong

Sorry, Shannon. But all of your posts came off as very judgmental. Embrace it. It's you.

Gina Ellinger
Gina Ellinger

So you tell me Beverly, what would all that make me? In your opinion of course... ????

Gina Ellinger
Gina Ellinger

I also HATE FOX SPEWS & all lamestream media! My father in law is a die hard conservative right wing nutter & he is GLUED to Fox Spews their word seems to be ordained by God to him, a "super intelligent" doctor of food science & consultant for major corporations! ;{ so how Fox News gets associated with a leftist mentality is confusing. But then again the entire $y$TEM is a fiasco! Im also a pacifist by nature so I find the lock & load mentality hard to respect or appreciate. If we must PROTECT anyone, then lets make it those who are releasing all the hidden technology & the innocent animals on the planet who have been tormented & enslaved due to the greeed & ignorance of human parasites!

Gina Ellinger
Gina Ellinger

Like i said, perhaps our definition of left/right in this regard is very different.

Gina Ellinger
Gina Ellinger

And as far as Obama is concerned i think it is ludicrous to even involve another puppet in the equation. The ones to condemn are those BEHIND THE CURTAIN! Im so tired of all this Obama crap... I certainly don't vote! Its ridiculous to participate in such a pathetic scam! The only person even close to worthy of such a position would be Dennis Kucinich or perhaps Dr. John Hagelin, founder of the U.S. Dept. of Peace. The leftist thought stems from my desire for ZERO BOARDERS & my pledge of allegiance to the WORLD not just one nation!

Gina Ellinger
Gina Ellinger

I must not fully grasp the left/right thing then. To me far left means pretty much the opposite of what the average right wing conservative stands for. BUT, as far as Bundy goes I'm so outraged by anyone who enslaves innocent gentle beings (animals of any kind) for their own pleasure & profit. That is my main issue with Bundy. I feel that he & his family are no more deserving of the land for that reason & if it was truly just about using the land INSTEAD for a solar field & to protect the endangered turtles, id be all about that too & happy to see it happen. But since i've heard it is also a land grab for more fracking or some other destructive endeavor it leaves me at a stale mate.

Beverly Poehlman
Beverly Poehlman

Nazi fascism is what obama doesand is...a dictator ...is this not the lefts man?

Beverly Poehlman
Beverly Poehlman

About being a far leftist...i have been dealing with far left attitudes from many peopl and all of them sound the same...they have not bothered to look at info i have shared and studied to help them see truth...their response to me is they know because they saw it on Hannity or FOX etc. But that is not truth..in particular Bundy standoff info on tv...i am greatful to the militia who came to support Bundy...leftists say to me...Bundy is an asshole who did not want to pay grazing fees...he deserves to be surrounded by feds BLM...its those militia with their guns that is the problem ...wtf!.. they refuse to study info because they know it all...this is insane to me...im done with left or right ...im neither...

Gina Ellinger
Gina Ellinger

I'm all about the GOLDEN RULE. What does nazi fascism have to do with it. :S

Gina Ellinger
Gina Ellinger

Which comment of mine are you responding to? I just noticed your remark. Wonder what spurred it on... : \

Beverly Poehlman
Beverly Poehlman

That is a shame Gina Ellinger....sorry to hear you support nazi fascism over the constitution...i have leftist professors for clients...they do not care about anything but what they think...no investigation into truth...and one is a lawyer...bold faced idiots!

Shannon Tiare
Shannon Tiare

Why not donate the 15K to homeless shelters in OC? Why does it go through a middleman?

Tessa Nevarez
Tessa Nevarez

ATTENTION: this event was to RAISE MONEY TO AID HOMELESS PEOPLE. IT WAS VERY SUCCESSFUL.

Tessa Nevarez
Tessa Nevarez

This event raised nearly $15,000 for the club's foundation to help aid the homeless.

Simpkins Christopher
Simpkins Christopher

Even if just ONE comes out of this with the goal of finding solutions and proceeds to do something about the problems facing the homeless it is a victory. Just saying

Shannon Tiare
Shannon Tiare

I am not "judging" the students, I am judging the flaccidness behind a "lets pretend to be marginalized for a day to see what it's REALLY LIKE AND RAISE AWARENESS YEAH!!" concept. Again, as I'll say over and over again...sleeping outside in a box in a controlled environment doesn't challenge anything, nor does it raise awareness to anyone about why the concept of private property and a capitalist system is what keeps people homeless and eventually fucking kills them. Unless your activism challenges and attacks the very root of this problem, sleeping in a box to raise awareness of something everybody already knows about is just an empty wank. Not to mention, if your intent is to raise awareness of the homeless problem in Orange County, why not actually have the people who have to live this life behind it? The people who don't get to just go back to a comfortable life afterward like these students do? Why not amplify their voices? Show their struggle from THEIR point of view? If that is what the whole point of raising awareness is, you should amplify the voices of the marginalized people who are actually struggling, instead of co opting their struggle and speaking over them. So many of the homeless in California are working homeless, working multiple jobs and still being unable to afford fucking HOUSING in this state. Why not raise awareness of the wage inequity that makes this such a thing? Or the fact that trans people and LGBT youth make up another large percentage of the homeless population? Awareness of discriminatory housing practices and the danger behind being a trans person or a queer person (especially if you are a queer/trans person of colour) in a conservative horrorshow like Orange County? There are so many social issues that intersect here that are at the root of the problem of homelessness in our state, and that is something that needs to be challenged and called out.

Shannon Tiare
Shannon Tiare

This doesn't do anything. Sleeping in a box literally does not do anything.

Shannon Tiare
Shannon Tiare

This isn't "negativity". This is "there needs to be an actual change to the system and an attack on the very concept of private property in a capitalist system that designates housing as a privilege instead of a fucking human right instead of an empty act of sleeping in a box for a night in a controlled environment." Especially if these students are so involved in activism, why not use this opportunity to collect clothes for shelters? Or call attention to the horrid economic situation our state is in? Think critically instead of assuming any criticism of this is "negative".

Shannon Tiare
Shannon Tiare

There needs to be real action instead of empty gestures. It doesn't call attention to the problematic concept of private property, which is what is killing people. Housing is a necessity, it is a right. It is not a privilege.

Mark Kalenderian
Mark Kalenderian

Breaking news: 99% of the movement's students have decided to remain in their designated boxes and forego their return to college life, upon communal review of their student loan balances.

Kanani Fong
Kanani Fong

I don't think anyone has the right to judge these students, anymore than they have the right to judge the homeless. It takes a lot of people from different walks of life to help the homeless. And that's everything from the nuts and bolts of volunteering, giving money, being a social worker, to people who are willing to create, introduce, and get passed sane public policy at all levels of government. A plethora of programs need to be lobbied for to ensure they're well funded, consistent, & not bureaucratic waste pits. If awareness helps them come to terms with the societal conditions that leads to homelessness, and to express their conviction to work to improve the lives who are struggling, then who are we to stop them from a little experiential learning?

Kanani Fong
Kanani Fong

Shannon, Helping the homeless involves a lot more than donating food, money, and time. I think you can hit a problem from a multitude of angles. This is just one of them. Let's hope while the students are out there, they think long and hard about the societal conditions that lead to becoming homeless, and how public policy can affect those at the lower end of the spectrum negatively. You'll need a lot of people from different professions and vocations to prevent homelessness, and let's hope these students are on the solving end of things someday. Sometimes, THINKING and envisioning the future is a very USEFUL thing. Everyone gives in their own way. I'm not one to dissuade or demean them from doing this.

Grither Urungus
Grither Urungus

I was homeless.. what they should really do is try sleeping in an alley in the middle of winter

Gina Ellinger
Gina Ellinger

By the way.... I'm a far left liberal ALL THE WAY! ;)

Gina Ellinger
Gina Ellinger

I agree, for most of them this will likely just be a game, a curiosity, an adventure for the night. ; \ How 'bout instead use that spare energy to accomplish SOMETHING that REALLY makes a difference for someone else. If they were forced to LIVE it for at least a month then maybe, but even then seems like a waste of time & effort. Every hour matters to someone hungry or suffering due to lack of some sort. :( BLESSED BE.

Alix Luu
Alix Luu

Uh.. I go to this school- haven't heard of the event though...

Erika Carmona
Erika Carmona

It's really a shame that it is automatically assumed that these students are just doing this "act" for a day. Maybe instead of judging them you should get to learn their background. Students in the MSW program...(masters in social work) have experience working with the community through social advocacy, non-profit organizations, grassroot groups and so forth. These are the individuals who are passionate about social change. Why speak with so much hate and negativity when you can just use that energy to help out yourself. Maybe you do already, but don't just assume the rest of these individuals don't.

Beverly Poehlman
Beverly Poehlman

Ty Shannon Tiare...right on...they do not experience reality by pretending...its sad...they will not feel what homelessness does...they go home after this...

Shannon Tiare
Shannon Tiare

If you give any semblance of a damn about the struggles of homeless people, you amplify THEIR voices. You do not make these things about you. Raise money, collect clothes (especially socks!!) for shelters. DONATE FOOD, TIME, SOMETHING USEFUL. THIS IS NOT USEFUL.

Shannon Tiare
Shannon Tiare

Except this doesn't actually help the homelessness problem, nor does it help the people who are struggling to survive on the streets. We're already well aware of the massive income inequalities in this state, someone already privileged sleeps outside for a night for what purpose? Does it donate clothing to shelters? Does it create jobs? Does it challenge the minimum wage? Does it do anything other than stroke their own egos?

Shannon Tiare
Shannon Tiare

This literally doesn't do shit to help the homeless problem in Orange County (not helped by our capitalist private property system one bit), and all this "demonstration" does is provide a big wank fest for liberalists who most likely lock their fucking doors when they pass a homeless person in their Mercedes. Why not raise awareness for the laws our state is passing that makes sleeping in cars illegal? Or the fact our disgustingly low minimum wage which doesn't even begin to match the cost of living in this fucking state, has made renting an apartment or even owning a home in California a literal impossibility thereby forcing working people in California to fucking live in their cars in the first place? This doesn't goddamn do anything to help the problem and again, if you gotta play pretend to cultivate a sense of empathy for other people, you've got a LOT of issues to work out.

Erika Carmona
Erika Carmona

It's a way to raise awareness and also a way to know what it's like to be out on the streets. These students are pursuing an education to better assist the community, many of them have helped the homeless population already with their own personal efforts. I wish people who have a bit more compassion and do something themselves to better our community instead of bashing on someone else's efforts.

Shannon Tiare
Shannon Tiare

Why? Why not fucking volunteer at a soup kitchen, or donate to shelters? Or amplify the voices of people who live this struggle every day? If you have to play pretend struggle in order to take someone's word for it then you've got some problems, pal.

Aaron Roach
Aaron Roach

Empathy. Truly understanding the experience. It's worth a try.'

Greg Chavez
Greg Chavez

How is this helping homeless people at all? I was homeless for many years and this is freaking lame. If you want to help homeless people, go out there and find them and give them food and clothes and somewhere to take a shower and maybe somewhere stay for a while. Sleeping in a cardboard box for one night in a safe environment isn't helping anything other than maybe giving these peoples ego a boost.

Jim Kinney
Jim Kinney

They hafta make sure that yhe fullerton cops dont beat them to death!!!!

Greg Chavez
Greg Chavez

As someone who was homeless for many years myself, I can honestly say this is one of the dumbest things I've ever heard.

sxymama714
sxymama714

Wow.  Just read the comments below.  You must live blissful lives, since ignorance is obviously at the core of your essence and shallow minds.  I highly anticipate that you can sense my sarcasm.  I am completely disheartened at your levels of inhumanity.  Every person who is homeless has a story.  Unless you personally know each and every one of them, there is no way to classify or put them all in one lump category (i.e. send them all to pick your strawberries, etc.).  Be reminded, that many people suffer from mental illness, not all, by choice.  Secondly, be reminded that many of us are still recovering from a national economic crisis, that many have not bounced back from.  Be reminded that many people have suffered job loss and are still experiencing financial hardships, including my family and I.  Be reminded that many people lost their family homes due to the implosion of the housing market crash that began in 2007, I speak from personal experience.  My family and I lost our home of nearly 14 years, in October 2013.  We are victims of a wrongful foreclosure and an illegal auction held by the lender of our first mortgage lien; CitiMortgage, Inc. a subsidiary of Citibank, all while in a loan modification application status, that we were strong armed and forced to apply for.  A month before they stole our home, my husband was released from his job of seven years with Verizon Communications. Two years before that, he suffered a stroke, to which he lost his right peripheral vision, which affected his ability to perform his job property, subsequently causing him to be terminated, in my opinion, because he was a "liability".  Do you think he asked for that?  Do you think we asked for all of this?  If it wasn't for family that was willing to take us in, we too, would have been on the street and labeled "homeless", just another story.  So in summary, I ask that you do yourselves a favor and do not judge, what you do not know.  If you think this can't happen to you, then you better think again.  Don't get too comfortable because you just never know what tomorrow holds, not for you and not for any one else you know, so save your ignorant, shallow, snide, crude, raw and dehumanizing comments, please and thank you.  

boboorozco1
boboorozco1

When real concrete solutions are too expensive and difficult, then resort to symbolic gestures and "raising awareness" (whatever that really means) gimmicks. The "awareness" will return to normal levels 30 minutes after it was "raised" and we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming.


boboorozco1
boboorozco1

@sxymama714 Methinks you have missed the point of the posts below.  No one is judging the homeless.  We are, however, judging the emptiness and ineffectiveness of students' sleeping in boxes as some kind of symbolic gesture to "raise awareness".  Ridiculing worthless gestures is one way of supporting worthwhile gestures.

Carlashworth
Carlashworth

Anyone remember "hands across America" to end homelessness, this was in 1986. And it must have been effective because csuf spend tonight sraising homelessness awareness in cardboard boxes

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

@boboorozco1

I would say Brainwashed_in_church is doing all kinds of hating on the homeless. Being homeless is not a crime, but apparently he thinks they should be treated like criminals. As for what the students are doing: it's not an empty gesture if it deepens their commitment to help the homeless.

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