Thanksgiving may be a welcomed vacation for many CSU students,
but this year the holiday will offer more than just time off from
This Fall Recess, students have the opportunity to participate
in the Denver Urban Plunge.
The “Plunge” is a trip designed to provide selected students
with the opportunity to experience the homeless lifestyle in
“I think it’d be a good idea because too many people take what
they have for granted and this would allow them to see the other
side of things,” said freshman open-option student Chas
Seniors Luke Jesser and Frances Southwick are organizing the
“Luke and I have each done three Alternative Spring Breaks, but
this is the first CSU alternative Thanksgiving break,” said
Southwick, a philosophy major.
Participants will split into groups and travel around Denver
with the help of a native Denver homeless guide. They will also
spend two nights in a homeless shelter.
“The first two days (involve) urban plunge experiences where we
sleep on the streets, panhandle, dress down and really act like
we’re homeless,” said Jesser, a microbiology major.
The following three days involve direct service, including
volunteer work at the Denver Rescue Mission’s Samaritan House, the
largest homeless shelter in Colorado according to
The Samaritan house operates year-round and is home to about 350
people each night. The house includes various services for single
men and women, as well as families.
“What’s really awesome is that we’re actually going to be
working with families, mainly mothers and children, at the
Samaritan house,” Jesser said. “The trip gives our participants
one-on-one interaction with homeless people and (the ability) to
sit down and talk to them.”
Both Jesser and Southwick will graduate in December, but they
hope the program continues as a tradition at CSU.
“Homelessness is something that we’re really limitedly exposed
to,” Jesser said. “This trip will hopefully provide our
participants with a better understanding of homeless people and
what they struggle with, (as well as) the services that are
available to them.”
The trip will last from Nov. 19 to Nov. 24, the day before
Thanksgiving. One week before the event, participants must go
through required training.
In addition to Jesser and Southwick, seven students will go on
the trip. About 25 students applied to go, and Jesser and Southwick
selected the seven based on past volunteer experience and
perspective on poverty.
A breakout box of who to contact if
people are interested in alternate positions for the trip, Luke
Jesser: 970-402-3221, and Frances Southwick: 970-402-4467.