Oct 182004
Authors: Megan Schulz

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

five-day trip.

“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.

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