Looking back: Spreading awareness for homelessness


Oakland Post Archives

Dr. Rinehart’s Persuasion/Marketing in Health class partnered with The Baldwin Center to create the first annual Fight the Night event.

A part of Oakland University is helping out in the community. Two events in November of 2015 helped raise awareness for homelessness. 

November is known as National Homeless Youth Awareness Month, and at OU, Professor Charlie Rinehart brought all of his students from his persuasion/marketing in health class together to help spread awareness. They partnered up with the Baldwin Center and created the first-annual Fight the Night event, which took place in P2 on Nov. 14, 2015.

“I want to thank Professor Rinehart’s students for working so hard to make this event a success,” then-President George Hynd said. “In 2013, there were approximately 600,000 homeless individuals in America, and about 1⁄4 of those were young adults. It’s a disturbing statistic that is very important to consider when thinking about the relevance of social programs in our country. My goal tonight is to plant the seed and challenge each of you to ask yourself how you can help as you continue on your path. Make sure that whatever your involvement entails, make sure to keep social programs alive.” 

Speakers attended the event and taught students about the issues of homelessness, housing first initiatives and the importance of social programs. The event featured speakers from the Baldwin Center, OU William Beaumont School of Medicine and the School of Health Sciences, along with Hynd. 

At the end of the night, those who were sleeping outside slept in their cardboard shelters and turned off all electronics. Students came to the event dressed in multiple layers to help themselves stay warm throughout the night. The goal of the projects was to help the students gain a perspective on the challenges that homeless individuals have to go through every day to fully understand the issue of homelessness.

A second event that took place November 2015 was the Road March: To End Hunger, where the Oakland Red Cross and Student Veterans of Oakland University (SVOU) partnered up to put host an event at OU to help bring awareness to homeless veterans and impact their lives by collecting donations.

Students, faculty and staff were invited to put together 10 pounds of non-perishable foods and new or gently used clothes into a backpack and bring it to Elliott Tower. Starting at Elliott Tower, participants would march a one-mile course around OU’s campus to spread awareness. 

“Our country’s service members carry heavy backpacks filled with their equipment and living needs while out on missions, many times walking long distances up mountains or through desert terrain with these heavy loads,” said Evan Parsons, Theta Chi’s event coordinator at the time.

The collections and contributions made during the march were donated to the Salvation Army’s Veterans Transitional Housing program, which helps provide homeless veterans with a place to stay and food.