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Siegfried residents raise money, awareness for homeless through Day of Man

| Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Despite the forecasted high temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit this Wednesday, the men of Siegfried Hall will be wearing t-shirts, shorts and flip flops as part of their 14th annual Day of Man fundraiser for South Bend Center for the Homeless. In fact, the colder the better, sophomore Sean Butler said.

Photo courtesy Sean

Residents of Siegfried Hall pose outside South Dining Hall during the 2019 Day of Man. The men of Siegfried use the annual event—in which they brave the cold in shorts and t-shirts—to fundraise for the South Bend Center for the Homeless.

“Last year it was in the 40’s and we were disappointed with that … we like the challenge,” Butler, one of the students involved in coordinating the fundraiser, said.

Day of Man marks the start of a fundraising effort that continues online through the Notre Dame Student Shop until the end of February. In the past 13 years, Siegfried has raised over $145,000 for the Center for the Homeless. After raising over $15,000 last year, the hall hopes to increase that number to $20,000 this year. Senior Jess Hatfield, who has led the event since his sophomore year, said the personal nature of the fundraiser is part of its appeal.

The success of the event is really about getting as many Siegfried men as possible outside begging for money,” Hatfield said in an email. “It’s a really cool event this way because there is a direct correlation between the amount of participation we have from each and every resident and the amount of money we raise.”

Despite the convenience of Venmo, the Student Activities Office has historically resisted its use in fundraisers due to security concerns. 

“Our rector, Deacon Joe Peterson, and other rectors are trying to push for hall Venmos for upcoming years so we’re hoping that comes through,” Butler said. “This year is probably more of a transition year.”

Butler said he felt the focus of the fundraiser is on coming to a better understanding of the experiences of the homeless and emphasizing solidarity.

“They [the homeless] have busy lives, too. Just like we have busy lives, they have busy lives, but they have to go through their lives without a lot of basic needs met,” Butler said. “I think at the core it’s a cause that everyone can get behind and recognize that, you know, we’re all so fortunate to be here at Notre Dame.”

In the future, Hatfield said, Siegfried residents hope to expand their fundraising to companies that can contribute monetary or product donations. Last year, Patagonia donated winter clothes to the Center for the Homeless in response to Siegfried residents’ efforts.

“In the future, getting winter clothes companies, or any companies, for that matter, to match donations could really improve total money raised,” Hatfield said. “This is a pretty unique event, so I think if we worked hard enough, we could definitely get some good sized corporate donations.”

Throughout the rest of the year, Siegfried Hall has an active relationship with the Center for the Homeless, with residents volunteering every weekend in whatever capacity they are most needed.

“We work with them a lot, so it’s more than just writing a check and then being done with it,” Butler said.

The fundraiser allows for community members, whether living on or off campus, to get involved in different ways, from designing t-shirts and posters to creating hype videos. Small variations, Hatfield said, can be enough to increase excitement and awareness before the fundraiser.

Day of Man has retained roughly the same form since its inception. Hatfield said the simplicity of the event combined with the light-hearted and yet sincere attitude of the participants makes it effective as both a fundraiser and community building event. The sense of purpose and community drew him to the fundraiser as a First Year.

Dorm spirit and a sense of camaraderie is huge,” Hatfield said. “The spirit is contagious and definitely necessary to get all of us to stand outside half naked in the freezing cold.”

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