The effort to make us aware of the homeless has got us dancing.

Aaron Grierson

The Silhouette


Last week was certainly full of something to wake us all up from our end of term stupor: loud music strategically placed right outside of the student centre. Now, it isn’t altogether unusual to hear loud music around campus; university students have a pretty hefty amount of freedom. This time, it was more the cause that surprised me.

I first saw the banner on Monday morning en route to class. “Five days For the Homeless.” It sounded like a fairly noble cause, though most charity group events do. But what something sounds like isn’t always the same as what the organization, or members of the organization, represents. Some get arrested for public drunkenness and masturbation, others for fraud. As far as I know, no one involved in last week’s event was arrested for anything. At least I certainly hope not – playing non-discriminatory music just isn’t a crime. To wish ill upon those that mean well just smells like bad karma to me. But I digress.

My attention was taken not so much by the banner, but by the mad techno beats that were dropping on my way out of class. Now, I also heard “Walk Off The Earth”, so I can’t really complain. About the music, that is. The first thing that crossed my mind when I heard the music was something along the lines of “What the hell? That makes no sense!” And it still doesn’t. I’m a fourth-year student, can safely say I’ve learned a lot and am probably no idiot. But the connection between ‘living like the homeless’ and having a free D.J. set for several hours a day evades me.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that there is awareness raising going on, in the same fashion that liking a Kony video might accomplish. In other words, not a whole lot is actually being done. Sure, the people looked friendly, and I saw dancers and cupcakes, but all of that really adds to the nonsensical nature of living like the homeless outside of a university with fancy sleeping bags and the luxuries that apparently come with it. As someone who loves to camp, the setup they had was awfully comfortable looking.

It certainly sends a message to me. One that I have to think about outside of the general area, as it can be quite hard to think when there is loud music blasting away. Aside from selling food and showing people their moves, I don’t really think a whole lot was accomplished. Now I’ll probably piss a lot of people off, but that seems to be the case with a lot of the social “movements” that have been happening “across the country” lately. Yes, that includes those of us that take pride in occupying a corner of a building that they’ve already paid for.

I wholeheartedly agree with the intents of these groups of people. I’m just very sceptical about the follow-through of these intents. There is a lack of action in my opinion. Fundraising is all well and good, but even major charities have been known to put a lot of the funds they raise towards exuberantly large paycheques. The audience at McMaster is comparably small to the rest of the city, or region for that matter, and in my experience, Hamilton has one of the better public transportation systems in these parts. And it should be known that there are better times of year for these sorts of events. Let’s face it; end of term is not the most luxurious experience. That way, there would be fewer excuses for going farther and doing real work next time.

So maybe next time you try and support the homeless, you should get out and panhandle. At least that way you’d be making some change.


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