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Siegfried holds Day of Man for homeless

Maggie Hagan | Friday, February 8, 2008

While most students battle the frigid South Bend winters with snow boots, fleece hats, gloves and parkas, 133 men from Siegfried Hall stripped down to their summer clothes for the second annual “Day of Man,” an event to raise money for the South Bend Center for the Homeless.

More than half of Siegfried’s residents spent the day walking around campus in red T-shirts, shorts and flip flops. The idea was to show their solidarity with the homeless, who often have minimal garments to protect themselves from the snow.

The participants walked around with plastic cups for donations, and they stood outside North Dining Hall at dinner to try to rake in some extra cash for the charity.

Robbie Bernardin, a junior, thought of the event last year as he walked from Farley to Siegfried dressed much the same way as many of the Day of Man participants.

“I was freezing, but I felt like a real man,” Bernadin said.

He began brainstorming with his roommate about ways they could test their ability to withstand cold temperatures. They eventually came up with the idea of doing something to benefit a charity, and the Dayof Man was born.

Last year’s Day of Man raised roughly $6,000 for the Center for the Homeless.

Bernardin was pleased with the turn out for this year’s event as well. It’s difficult to know exactly how much this year’s event has raised yet because Siegfried residents also get pledges from friends and family, he said.

The event lasted from midnight on Wednesday to midnight on Thursday, but the men will continue to accept outside donations for the cause after the event officially ends.

Bernardin was hoping to raise somewhere around $5,000.

Participants in the event acknowledged the difficulty of walking around all day in attire more suitable for South America than South Bend, but most were willing to put up with the discomfort for the good cause.

“The worst part was probably our feet because it is still really slushy out there from the snow,” said Ian Rangel, a freshman commissioner for the event, “but it was for such a good cause that it gave us a credible reason to do it.”

Bernardin agreed with Rangel, saying it was “freakin’ freezing,” but claimed

that once his hands and feet went numb, it “hurt so good.”

He says that walking around in the winter weather without protection from the cold gave him a better appreciation for what the homeless have to go through.

“It was tough, but some people have to do that everyday,” he said. “I know that when I wake up tomorrow morning, I can put on pants and a coat. Not everyone can say that.”

Rangel also stressed the event’s importance in raising awareness on campus for the difficulties of the homeless. He noted that the event was important in helping people see that Notre Dame students care about more than sports and partying.

“People think college kids are here just to have a good time,” he said. “We wanted to break that stereotype and show we’re here to do much more.”