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Siegfried hosts Day of Man to bring awareness to homelessness

| Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Despite Wednesday’s expected high of 31 degrees, the Siegfried Hall Ramblers will be wearing only T-shirts, shorts and flip flops as part of their annual Day of Man. The event aims to promote solidarity with the homeless — many of whom do not have adequately warm clothing during winter months — and collect funds for the South Bend Center for the Homeless, junior Michael Hernick, Day of Man co-commissioner said.

“Last year we raised $22,000, so I mean, our goal for this year is to beat that again,” junior Isaac Althoff, Day of Man co-commissioner, said. “That was $9,000 over our previous record, so [to] just keep pushing the record up there is always the goal.”

Siegfried Hall president, sophomore Sam Bishop, participated in the Day of Man last year and said the event is “a lot of fun” despite the cold temperatures.

“Probably my best memory is standing outside of South Dining Hall for an hour in the freezing cold, and I was dressed as a banana and we had some funny signs, and just having a lot of fun with the passersby and people laughing at us,” Bishop said. “It hurts because it’s very cold. Your fingers and toes start to hurt, but it’s worth it.”

Hernick said when he participated in the Day of Man during his freshman year, the temperature was between 15 to 20 degrees, and it was “snowing sideways.”

“I remember I was standing outside [LaFortune Student Center] with one of my friends, and then on the way back, it was really cold out, obviously,” Hernick said. “We decided to sprint back to Siegfried, and then he slipped and dropped his cup, so I had to stand there in the cold helping him pick up all his money. … I felt like my fingers were about to fall off, and I was really mad at the moment, but it’s a good laugh now.”

The Day of Man gives Siegfried students the opportunity to bond, Althoff said.

“It’s definitely an event that everyone looks forward to,” Althoff said. “People wake up in the morning and they cut their shirts and make them even more scanty. It’s just a big group thing.”

Bishop said suffering in the cold helps the men of Siegfried empathize with the homeless and gives them a sense of perspective.

“It definitely bonds us because one of the main points of Day of Man — maybe the most valuable thing in it — is an expression of solidarity with the poor, with those who are exposed,” Bishop said. “In expressing that solidarity with them, we are also expressing it with each other. So we suffer together, we stand outside together. We do all of it together for others.”

According to Hernick, raising awareness of homelessness is necessary, and a group from Siegfried volunteers at the Center for the Homeless every Saturday.

“The goal of the whole day is obviously to raise some money, but it’s also to raise awareness and to work really hard this one day so that people think about homelessness, and think about the problems it poses a little more the other 364 days of the year,” he said.

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