It’s not uncommon to hear university students speak of “living in the library,” but it’s usually meant as a metaphor. This January, though students from 10 campuses across Canada gave the phrase a new meaning, all in the name of literacy.
Organized by a student organization called DREAM (Discovering the Reality of Educating All Minds), based at Queen’s University, the live-in started in 2006 as a means of raising both funds for Room to Read’s programs and awareness of illiteracy worldwide. This year’s live-in included campers from Queen’s University, Laurentian University at Georgian, Laurentian University at Sudbury, McMaster University, Memorial University, Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia, University of Ottawa, University of Toronto at St. George and York University.
“We believe that everyone has the right to be equally educated, and we want to open the eyes of our colleagues and peers,” say DREAM organizers Nitasha Sarin and Kat Manica. “As university students we have had the privilege of education, and we want to share that access to knowledge to others around the world.”
Since 2005, DREAM has raised over $100,0000 for our work, all through grassroots outreach efforts like this one—having funded 9 libraries in Nepal, 5 libraries in India, 1 computer lab and the publishing of over 10,000 local-language children’s books.
“It’s a lot of fun,” says one camper from Queen’s. “Sometimes [people] are surprised by what we’re doing, but mostly the reactions are very positive and people cheer us on.” Receiving donations from her peers, she says, is a highlight. “It feels great knowing that people in the community care about our cause and are willing to support us.”
More than just a fund-raising effort, the event was extremely successful in raising awareness for Room to Read across Canada. Many of the campers made their local broadcast news, and the tents drew the attention of fellow students.
Congratulations to all the student teams for yet another great event, and thanks to the participating schools for your dedication to ensuring all children have the chance to pursue an education!
Feeling inspired? Learn more about our Students Helping Students program, or join us for a live webinar in March to learn how you can plan your own "Live-in" event. [For details email firstname.lastname@example.org; subject: LiL webinar]