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Siegfried’s Day of Man helps the homeless

| Wednesday, February 6, 2019

People on campus may see men wearing less clothes than a normal South Bend February day would typically require and holding out Solo cups with a request for money Wednesday. If so, they should not be alarmed — it’s just Siegfried Hall’s signature event, Day of Man, in full force.

As it is the 13th year for the event, Siegfried has the basics down for the Day of Man: wear skimpy clothes — most often their bright event t-shirts, shorts and flip-flops — to class and around campus all day and ask for donations that will go to the South Bend Center for the Homeless.

Observer file photo

According to sophomore Kieran Wurl, one of four event commissioners, the Day of Man first originated when a Siegfried resident forgot his coat one cold winter day, and realized others less fortunate than he dealt with the cold in this fashion every day.

“He realized that there are people in the South Bend community that are homeless and go through it every day, fighting the South Bend cold wind. So he gathered a group of his friends, went out and started asking for money for donations for the homeless and then it kind of turned into a Siegfried tradition from then on,” Wurl said.

Wurl said members of Siegfried will collect money in-person all day Wednesday, as well as through a Venmo account — @DayOfMan2019. Each section in the dorm will take shifts at both dining halls during high traffic times, and will also be outside of DeBartolo Hall in the morning.

While the temperature for this year’s event will be above freezing — around 40 degrees — Wurl hopes it will go down some.

“The standard is flip-flops, shorts and a t-shirt, but people can go over or under that … we want to just try to actually put yourself in the shoes of a homeless person to experience what they might be feeling,” Wurl said.

Apart from its signature event, Siegfried maintains a relationship with the South Bend Center for the Homeless and tries to help the center and its residents whenever possible.

Patrick Davis, a senior commissioner for the event, said a couple dorm members help out at the shelter every weekend, and the dorm has worked with the clothing company Patagonia to donate coats.

“It goes beyond just the day itself and more has to do with Siegfried’s relationship with the Center for the Homeless,” Davis said. “We send a couple of kids every weekend to the Center every weekend to help out with whatever they need — cleaning up, organizing clothes, food or just sitting and talking with the residents. … We want people to see another side of South Bend that not many Notre Dame students have seen.”

Over the years, Siegfried has raised a combined total of about $130,000 in donations, and $18,000 last year alone. According to Wurl, the hall’s goal for this year is to reach — and potentially break — the $20,000 mark.

“We’re just hoping that members of the Notre Dame community will feel generous,” Wurl said.

“I know it’s going to be warmer this week than last week,” Davis said. “But I’m sure everyone can remember what it was like to be outside last week, and imagine what it would be like to be stuck outside for longer than a few minutes.”

Davis and Wurl mentioned the steps South Bend has taken in the last week in light of the extremely cold weather to open their doors to anyone in need, and touched on the homeless issue the entire country faces.

“There’s several hundred people who depend on the Homeless Center. … Kids, women, children and families are depending on the Homeless Center for their meals, and in situations like last week with staying overnight on days where it’s very cold,” Wurl said. “So there’s really a need for it in the South Bend community, but honestly all over the United States it’s also a problem.”

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About Mariah Rush

Mariah is a senior majoring in American Studies and minoring in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. She is from the great city of South Bend, and serves as Managing Editor of The Observer. You can find her always on Twitter at @mariahfrush.

Contact Mariah