Two Memorial students will forego the comforts of home to raise money for literacy next week by pitching a tent in the Queen Elizabeth II library on the St. John’s campus.
Cheyanne Smart, a fourth-year psychology major from Botwood, and Julia Curtis, a fifth-year biochemistry student from St. John’s, will live in the library from Saturday, Jan. 23 to Saturday, Jan. 30 as part of a student initiative spanning eight Canadian universities called Live-in for Literacy.
Ms. Smart says it’s a small gesture considering the limitations many people face in less fortunate countries.
“I volunteer on and off campus, but I wanted to do something for people in another country,” said the fourth year psychology major from Botwood. “I tutor a little girl there and she is my inspiration. There is such a lack of educational opportunities in her home country of Nepal.”
The hope is to raise a total of $20,000 to build a school library in India, as well as publish 10,000 copies of a local language children’s book. Last year, Memorial’s portion of the funds raised was the highest across the country. The women are aiming to do it again this year, aiming to raise $6,500.
As part of the challenge, the students will only emerge from their temporary home – a dome tent in the QE II library front lobby – for five minutes per hour for the entire seven days. They will have access to their laptops in order to keep up with their assignments as they will have to miss classes, as well as a healthy collection of books, DVDs, comfy pillows and snacks.
The entire event will also be recorded live via webcam in order for anyone to check in and see the women living in the library in real time.
Both students say a week’s worth of cramped quarters is well worth the potential payoff: much needed cash to help build schools, libraries and other educational infrastructure in developing nations.
“I volunteer a lot locally,” said Ms. Curtis, a biochemistry and behavioural neuroscience student from St. John’s. “But I thought this would be really different – you don’t get much different than living in a library for a whole week with someone you don’t know.”
This will be the fifth year Live-in for Literacy has challenged students to make a difference. From a computer lab in Cambodia to school libraries in Nepal and India, Canadian university students are making a difference – simply by sleeping over at school.
More information about Live-in for Literacy 2010 is available online at www.liveinforliteracy.com
(including the live webcam stream during the event), or feel free to drop by the QE II Library to make a donation anytime beginning at 12 p.m., on Saturday, Jan. 23 until 12 p.m., on Saturday, Jan. 30.
You can also make a donation to the cause by calling 737-3111.