Fight the Night increases empathy, awareness for homlessness

Amy Swanson, Staff Reporter

Students will brave the cold once again for the public demonstration Fight the Night on Nov. 12 from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

For these 12 hours, participants will camp and sleep outside to show support for the homeless individuals of Oakland County.

The goal of this advocacy campaign is to raise awareness of the homeless situation and create empathy for the difficulties homeless people face.

This is the second year OU is holding Fight the Night. Organizer Terri Brown, a fifth-year senior double majoring in psychology and Wellness, Health Promotion and Injury Prevention, said the turnout was great for the event’s debut.

After participants arrive and get settled, there will be informational speakers throughout the evening. Food will also be served around 9:30 p.m.

From 11:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m., it is deemed quiet time. Participants will be asked to put away any electronics or distractions, becoming aware of any discomfort or pain they may feel over the next several hours.

They should use this time to reflect on the harsh reality many of their community members face on a regular basis, emphasizing that attendees of the event have a home to go back to once the night is over, Brown said.

The demonstration will begin to wrap up around 5:30 a.m., when attendees will come together over food and final remarks.

Alysa Piering, who graduated from the WHP in April 2016, is glad she was a part of the experience last year.

“Participating in Fight the Night was one of the most challenging and most rewarding things that I have ever done,” she said.

Although she bundled up in layers of warm gear, Piering said she underestimated just how cold it would be.

“A group of us laid huddled together in our cardboard box ‘home’ trying to keep each other warm,” she said. “I can’t even imagine what it would’ve felt like to not have the support of my classmates there.”

Even so, Piering will be going again this year and believes everyone should try, as she felt it was such an eye-opening accomplishment.

“Events like this bring awareness to the OU community, especially with the Baldwin Center being just a few miles away,” she said. “We should all take responsibility and raise awareness about homelessness in our area.”

Event organizers decided to partner with the Baldwin Center of Pontiac. Beginning in 1981, this nonprofit organization has served as a “safety net,” feeding, clothing, educating and empowering disadvantaged members of the city, according to its website.

The center currently offers over 25 support programs, from providing crisis assistance to enrichment opportunities for adults and children.

The Baldwin Center envisions “people of all ages and cultures sharing the belief that they can create and shape how they live and grow within the community,” according to its website.

Fight the Night will be held just before National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week, which is always the week before Thanksgiving. NHHA Week is sponsored by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness.

“It is designed to educate the public, draw attention to the problem of poverty, and build up the base of volunteers and supporters for local anti-poverty agencies,” according to its website.

Each year, over 700 colleges, high schools and groups around the country unite, holding events to engage their community and raise awareness about these growing problems.

Fight the Night will take place in the P1 parking lot by the Oakland Center. Anyone is welcome to participate.

While the event is free, donations are encouraged to raise funds for the Baldwin Center’s services.

Organizers are hoping to raise $5,500 by Dec. 31. However, the goal is to hit $3,000 by the time of the event.

To donate, head to All proceeds go directly to the Baldwin Center.