Point Loma college students’ ‘shanty town’ is good first step

by on April 3, 2009 · 13 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, Ocean Beach, San Diego

Jenna Lee (left) and Jennifer Hassen play a card game Thursday, April 2, 2009 outside the gym at Point Loma Nazarene University, where students are living in a shanty village to understand poverty. (John R. McCutchen / Union-Tribune) -

The fact that a group of college students from Point Loma Nazarene University has set up their own ‘shanty town’ to learn about Third World poverty – is a good first step.  And it would be good for the City if San Diego politicians would follow in their foot steps – to learn about Southern California poverty.

But, the next step for the students – joined by the politicos, should be to move to downtown’s cold sidewalks.  Then they all should move and set up a ‘shanty town’ in the San Diego riverbed – but wait ! There’s already one or two or more there, set up in the thick thicket of river trees and brush.

We applaud these students. At least they are trying. Something the politicos need to emulate.  Sure, it’s safe in their little town, and they only did it for a few days. But when was the last time Mayor Sanders boiled his water or tried to live on only $2 a day?

Today the Union-Tribune reported:

POINT LOMA: A group of students at Point Loma Nazarene University is learning firsthand what Third World poverty can feel like – at least for a few days.

From Wednesday through today, about 25 students are living on $2 a day: sleeping in a shanty village outside the campus gym, boiling their drinking water and eating only what their pooled dollars can buy.

Their effort was organized by two students in the university’s microfinance club and is part of the Two Dollar Challenge, an educational program that aims to engage students in the fight against global and domestic poverty.

Participants are also collecting donations for anti-poverty service organizations, according to a statement from Point Loma Nazarene, a private university that serves more than 3,500 students.

“It’s hard to bring ourselves out here in the cold, but it’s really beneficial,” sophomore Jennifer Hassen, 20, said yesterday. “I really learned a lot about myself and other people.”

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

lane tobias April 3, 2009 at 9:43 am

when i was a student at Ithaca College we had a similar demonstration in the student activities center that was billed as a “guerilla” protest against federal budget cuts at the time. We busted in, set up about 4 tents, and had people lay about the walkways asking for help. It really hit home…and I commend these students for doing the same. It makes me ponder how a larger demonstration, in say, downtown La Jolla might go over?


jon April 3, 2009 at 9:52 am

This is a nice idea. Although it’s funny to see the students sitting around in plush green grass with comfortable looking sweaters and hair ties. And…is that an OVERNIGHT bag!??

But seriously, I applaud them for taking this step. It’s a lot more than most do (myself included) to bring awareness to issues of poverty and homelessness. And I’m sure the fact they can pack up at the end of this experiment and go HOME is not lost on them. Great job PLNU!


Shawn Conrad April 3, 2009 at 12:32 pm

It is a great place to pick up girls. Especially on cold nights.


Dave Gilbert April 3, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Reminds me of the Joe South song, Walk a Mile in My Shoes



mr fresh April 3, 2009 at 1:17 pm

if we do this in la jolla, can we set up in front of blondstone?


jon April 3, 2009 at 1:23 pm

I nominate Mr. Fresh for “comment of the day.”


Dave Gilbert April 3, 2009 at 1:50 pm

LOL!!! no doubt Mr Fresh


Frank Gormlie April 3, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Okay, it’s decided: mr fresh will set up a shanty town in front of blondstones in La Jolla. Nice.


OB Joe April 3, 2009 at 4:11 pm

Back to Lane’s proposal, do a pro-homeless demonstration in La Jolla?


lane tobias April 4, 2009 at 1:01 am

i think the more visible we make this, the better off all parties will be. the city has the money and soon will have the resources, now they just need to prove humane. the public building allowance is certainly commendable. this is definitely the time for public entities and regular folk to open dialogue and work together.


Dave Gilbert April 5, 2009 at 9:34 pm

opps, how about;


Dave Gilbert April 5, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Here’s what I meant…you tube roxxx!!! ;)


Frank Gormlie April 6, 2009 at 9:01 am

Great song, Dave G. Who was he? what happened to Joe South? who put together the video do you know? (what’s with the non-sync?) but some great images from the sixties.

were you a hippie?


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