Lucy Stone, News Editor
Outside the Student Union and Learning Commons plaza, a blue tarp held up by a large branch constructed a makeshift roof that would provide shelter, warmth and protection. Wooden pallets surrounded the space, creating a home for the members of Pi Kappa Alpha for the next 48 hours.
Saturday morning was spent waterproofing the enclosure in case the 40 percent chance of rain came down in the middle of the night.
The night before, 10 students slept outside either on wooden pallets covered in cardboard, sleeping bags on cement—which would later be donated—or one of the many benches on Armstrong’s campus.
This year marked the seventh annual 48 Hours Homeless drive presented by Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE). Beginning on Friday at noon and lasting until Sunday at noon, PIKE fraternity members spent 48 hours staying outside while living off donations from students and faculty.
All donations of nonperishable food and clothing went to Union Mission, a local organization devoted to supporting the homeless population in Savannah.
Junior Business Economics major and PIKE President Sean Touton explained that “[PIKE] camping out is so the students can see what it would be like if one of their friends were homeless. It becomes more personal.”
Touton said the hardest thing about completing the 48 hours is sleeping outside. The average amount of time the participants slept was 4 to 5 hours.
The temperature Friday night dropped to the 40s and it was difficult to stay warm. Members used whatever was available for warmth, which included donated blankets and clothing.
“We live off donated food and clothing. We wear everything that is donated to us,” Touton explained. A big supplier of donated clothing was Armstrong’s clothing closet.
It was sophomore human performance major Noah Peacock’s second time participating in 48 Hours Homeless. The PIKE member said he “liked when all the guys here to come together,” and that “it would be miserable to be out here by yourself.”
Peacock added that “At night it’s really cold and during the day the gnats are bad.”
Winter temperatures rarely went below freezing this season and Hurricane Matthew left an excellent breeding ground for mosquitos. Without their repellant candle, the conditions could have been worse.
“Last year it rained the whole time and we were holding up tarps,” Peacock explained. As preparation, PIKE members tried to secure the tarp as best as possible from wind and rain.
PIKE’s main philanthropy event consists of raising money year round for Savannah’s Bethesda Home for Boys. A tradition started in the 70s, PIKE continues to send money to Bethesda Academy and play their basketball team each year for fun.