Siegfried hosts 10th annual Day of Man
Rachel O'Grady | Thursday, February 18, 2016
The Ramblers of Siegfried Hall braved below-freezing temperatures in just shorts, tank tops and flip-flops Wednesday as part of the 10th annual Day of Man.
The dorm’s signature event came into existence 10 years ago, when a resident of Siegfried realized how prevalent the problem of homelessness in South Bend was, particularly with the harsh Midwest winters, according to Siegfried sophomore Mark Cerutti.
Cerutti said he spent the day outside the LaFortune Student Center, South Dining Hall and DeBartolo Hall asking passersby for donations for the South Bend Center for the Homeless.
“Physically, the cold here at Notre Dame could kill you or at the very least could get you pretty sick, but mentally, I can’t fathom how someone homeless could really withstand the cold, knowing that there’s no end,” Cerutti said. “The South Bend Center for the Homeless is such a worthy cause for donation because the donations of students and faculty can directly affect the lives of the needy, who live so close to us even though we seldom, if ever, see them.”
Sophomore Elek Wellman said the worst part of his day was not the temperature, but the wind.
“The biggest challenge of the day was the freezing wind,” Wellman said. “It felt like the wind was cutting my skin. … Hopefully, Day of Man shows the Notre Dame students to be grateful for the utilities we have which make the cold winter bearable.
“The point of the day is to make people think about the struggles homeless people encounter on a daily basis during these winter months. People see us struggling to merely walk from class to class, but many homeless people have the same struggle throughout the entire day.”
Senior event organizer Alex Campbell said the idea behind Day of Man is that, by braving the cold for one day, Siegfried students might help alleviate some of the cold the city’s homeless experience, particularly at night.
“The high today was around 33 degrees, which is actually relatively warm as far as Day of Man is concerned,” Campbell said. “Nevertheless, it’s still pretty cold, and I think gives us a small amount of insight into what the homeless go through on a daily basis. It certainly isn’t easy, and some of the freshmen do take some convincing, but I think afterward we all definitely feel it’s worth it.”
Campbell said the Day of Man typically raises several thousand dollars.
“The several thousand dollars raised during Day of Man is largely a sum of small donations,” Campbell said. “There’s the notion that ‘Nobody has to do everything, but everybody has to do something,’ and I like to think of a problem like homelessness in the same way. It’s a large, complex and difficult problem, but every little bit helps.”
In his last year participating in Day of Man, Campbell said he has learned a lot.
“Over the past four years, I think Day of Man has taught me a lot — it’s taught me to be more mindful of the blessings in my life,” Campbell said. “Specifically with regard to the problem of homelessness, it’s taught me that people can end up without a home for a variety of reasons and that the consequences can be much farther reaching than one might think. … I think we all learn to be a little more grateful, a little more humble and a little more compassionate.”