Spending a night on the streets

Amnesty International, Tent City, university yard
Several students spent their night camped out in University Yard Tuesday evening as part of GW Amnesty International's second annual Tent City event. Cécile Schilis-Gallego | Hatchet photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Cecile Schillis-Gallego

Residence halls across campus had a few empty beds last night, as about 20 students slept in University Yard to raise awareness of homelessness and poverty for the second annual Tent City event.

Students arrived around 9 p.m. on Tuesday, prepared to camp out until 6 a.m., although early morning rain drove many to pack up around 3 a.m.

Tim Savoy, co-executive director of GW Amnesty International, which organized the event, said he was pleased a few more students turned out for the event this year compared to past years.

The night opened with the story of Steve Thomas, a D.C.-resident who slept on a bench on Pennsylvania Avenue for a year and a half. Thomas, a former drug addict and alcoholic, shared his difficult journey through life and his progressive addiction to cocaine, which left him alone on the streets at 51-years-old.

The large, towering man said he was lucky not to have been assaulted.

He has been off the streets for four years and is now an advocate for homelessness prevention and a member of the National Coalition for the Homeless.

“I am humble to be sleeping in a bed,” he said, “I don’t take it for granted.”

Thomas Boyd, a member of Amnesty International since freshman year and a member of the executive board, participated in the event for the first time yesterday.

“I know a lot of faces of homeless people on the streets and I really wanted to show them solidarity,” he said.

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