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Day of Man returns to campus

| Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Thursday, the Siegfried Ramblers will brave the South Bend cold in only t-shirts, shorts and flip-flops in solidarity with the homeless as they celebrate “Day of Man.”

day of manPhoto courtesy of Thomas Ridella

This annual fundraiser raises money for the South Bend Center for the Homeless, Day of Man co-commissioner Thomas Ridella said. Residents collect money from students, staff and faculty on the day itself but also encourage donations from family and friends who wish to support the cause as well, Ridella said.

“In previous years we have raised between $6,000 to $8,000, and last year we hit a record $10,000. We are aiming for $12,000 this year, and we’re hoping the addition of an online donation page will help with our efforts,” co-commissioner Alexander Campbell said. “The Center’s need grows each year, and we are hoping our support can grow to meet that demand.”

The fundraiser began nine years ago, Ridella said.

“A sophomore in Siegfried was walking home from off campus with only shorts and a t-shirt and actually noticed just how cold it can get in South Bend,” he said. “This realization turned into an event that year to help one of the greatest organizations in our community that helps the homeless all year, and particularly in these cold winter months.”

Generally, more than 200 of the Siegfried residents participate, Campbell said.

“We take pride in the strength of our community and the willingness of our residents to bear a burden so that others’ may be lessened,” he said. “Siegfried gets stereotyped as an athletic, masculine dorm. On Day of Man, we live up to that ideal.”

The event also proves why Siegfried is called the “Hall of Champions,” junior James Bowyer said.

“[A] champion … means ‘a person who fights or argues for a cause or on behalf of someone else.’ Siegfried’s Day of Man is a chance for us all to be champions in another, much more important, sense,” Bowyer said. “We, the entire campus, get the opportunity to come together as a family and be champions for a cause that desperately needs help.

“… What I am trying to say is that I participate because, at the end of the day, I know that whatever sickness I get will fade (along with the numbness that comes from walking to [DeBartolo Hall]), but the people who are struggling with homelessness don’t know when or if they will be able to bounce back and that is not fair.”

Day of Man allows the participants to give back to the community while also raising awareness of the difficulties the homeless face every day, junior Brian Davis said.

“It helps put a little bit into perspective what the homeless have to deal with every, and if, in the process, we are able to raise a lot of money for them … Well, then, that’s just something special that gets everyone interested,” Davis said.

Sophomore Eric Salter said the camaraderie of Day of Man makes it an experience not to be missed.

“I would not mistake walking to class in freezing temperatures in summer wear as enjoyable, but, when doing so with 200 of your best friends and neighbors, it becomes an act of unity,” Salter said. “Close sense of community is one the greatest aspects of Notre Dame life, and this event is a quintessential example of it.”

The annual event provides a way to bond with fellow Ramblers as well as helping a great cause, junior Jack Szigety said.

“Every time you walk by another Rambler in a bright t-shirt and shorts, you can’t help but feel a bond, even if you’ve never spoken,” Szigety said. “The real beauty of the day is that it does all this while supporting the incredible cause of helping the homeless during the harsh winter months in South Bend.”

Temperatures are predicted to be below freezing on Thursday, with a chance of snow, but when asked how the event’s participants will deal with the cold, the organizers simply said, “What cold?”

To donate to Day of Man, go to studentshop.nd.edu, select “Residence Halls” and select “Siegfried Hall.” Checks payable to South Bend Center for the Homeless, with “Day of Man” as the memo, can be delivered to Fr. John Conley in 100 Siegfried Hall or directly to the center: Center for the Homeless, 813 S. Michigan St., South Bend, IN 46601.

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About Kayla Mullen

Kayla is a senior political science major and the Managing Editor of The Observer. She hails from Philadelphia, PA and was previously a resident of Howard Hall.

Contact Kayla