At least 17,000 New Mexicans are homeless, and for one night UNM students can experience what that might be like.

Six graduating communication and journalism students, The Happy Campers, organized the event as part of a service-learning assignment, student Bryan Wilcox said.

“We hope people leave with a better personal understanding of what is like to be homeless,” he said. “It is a firsthand experience of what the homeless community has to go through. It is not exactly what it is like, but it gives perspective.”



From 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., attendees will be fed dinner and breakfast, enjoy live music, hear firsthand

accounts of homeless experiences and build a box to sleep in for the night. The students worked with St. Martin’s Hospitality Center, Wilcox said, and donations will go to the nonprofit organization.

“We are asking for people to bring one pair of white socks to donate,” he said. “It is the least donated item, but one of the most important for homeless people because their feet are their only source of transportation. Being on their feet is everything, and there are so many problems correlated with that.”

Happy Camper Estelle Pecherand said more New Mexicans have lost their homes since the recession.

“It is not just affecting random people, and I hope that people can become aware of what it is and how it can happen,” she said. “I know one person in my family was having troubles at one period of his life and had to deal with it.”

Local music group, the Noms, will perform along with Amberzytte, Wilcox said, but entertainment will only go until 9:30 p.m.

“It will be cold out on Johnson and kind of lonely after the entertainment ends,” he said. “You can only talk and hang out for so long before you realize it is boring and uncomfortable, and it is definitely not ideal sleeping conditions.”

Pecherand said everyone should do his or her part to help, even if it’s in a small way.

“We could spend our entire lives trying to solve everything, but I think if everybody at least could help out with one cause, that would be helpful,” she said.