Month: May 2018
Educational Program of the Month
||University of California, San Diego
|Person in charge:
|Target Population: 100
||Time Needed to Organize: 5 weeks |
|Number of People in Attendance: 96
||Date(s) of Program: 5/16/18|
|Number of People Needed to Organize: 6
||Cost of Program: 1200|
|On-Campus Population: 10700
||Chapter Size: 47|
|Origin of Program:|
The Resident Assistants (RAs) for Revelle College, one of the seven
residential areas at the University of California, San Diego, are
required to plan a variety of Social Justice Programs throughout the
school year. The objective of these programs is always to raise
awareness of the selected topic that is affecting society by enabling
residents to take part in a multitude of engaging activities.
The RAs on the fourth, fifth, and sixth floors of Argo Hall, a first
year residence hall in Revelle, decided to choose Houselessness for
their topic. When brainstorming for ideas, the group decided to focus
on a topic less controversial. This was to try to reach those from all
political views, instilling a desire in all who attended, regardless of
their own views, to make a difference and recognize the severity of the
The RAs thought that this topic was especially important to raise
awareness of because San Diego has one of the highest Houseless
populations in the nation. Living in our campus bubble, many might not
realize that this is impacting people in such close proximity to
campus, which was one of the driving factors that led the RAs to choose
Word Count: 200
|Please give a short description of the program:|
Residents partook in a silent activity to recognize common
misconceptions associated with Houselessness. There were mason jars
with different misconceptions such as, "All houseless individuals are
lazy." Residents walked around, placing a pebble into the jars with
misconceptions that they had heard. Afterwards, a discussion took
place facilitated by one of the RAs.
Then, each group member received a scenario card. The cards all had a
different identity with a first name, age, hometown, description of
their situation and why they are houseless, access to health
insurance, and which shelters they would not be able to access.
After this activity, residents went to an interactive map activity.
The RAs asked all of the residents to mark where they were from in
their scenario card on a laminated United States map. They asked the
group why they thought those particular states were chosen for the
scenario cards. They told the group statistics on the whole country,
many demographics, and types of houselessness. They highlighted the
prevalence of houselessness in San Diego, which has the fourth
largest houseless population in America.
The group headed to an outdoor courtyard for an engaging shelter
activity. There were five pre-made shelters: a blanket over
cardboard, a sleeping bag, two shopping carts with tarps draped over
them, a tent, and a couch. The tent represented having access to
protection from the element, while the couch represented having some
type of physical building for a shelter. Residents were told to pay
particular attention to the shelter section of the scenario card.
This section had directions as to which shelters they could not
access. Then, the RAs facilitated a "race", having the group members
run to pick a shelter. Many had to move because their character
either couldn't access that shelter or it already had two people
occupying it. This highlighted the difficulty of accessing the more
desirable shelters as a houseless individual. The group sat for a few
seconds in silence in their shelter and the RAs asked discussion
questions like, how they would feel if someone saw them in this
shelter and how this shelter compared their current living situation
(whether that was a single, double, or triple). Then, they went to a
debrief of the program.
Throughout the program, residents got raffle tickets for
participation which they could use at the end to enter to win prizes.
They also received Nothing Bundt Cakes and boba.
Word Count: 400
|Goals of the program:|
The objective of this program was to raise residents' awareness of
the topic of houselessness, especially due to its prevalence in San
Diego. As a social justice program, we wanted to provide information
on a topic that many individuals might not know about in much depth.
One of our main objectives was to clear up some of the misconceptions
commonly associated with houseless individuals, which was especially
done by the first activity and the debrief. We also sought to provide
information on the term houseless versus homeless, which was
accomplished in the debrief through some really great and impactful
We hoped to provide residents with a safe space to learn and ask
questions about our topic, and with the significant number of
residents who contributed to those discussions and asked those
questions, that goal was definitely satisfied. We also hoped to
increase residents' comfort with having more serious discussions
where they could share their own inputs, especially in a group
We wanted residents to know that houselessness is so prevalent not
only in the whole country but especially in San Diego, to be made
aware of the common misconceptions, and to learn about the types of
Word Count: 200
|Positive and lasting effects of the program:|
Residents expressed that the experience was eye-opening for them.
Many residents said they realized how much they take basic amenities
for granted and felt grateful for their living situation on campus,
even if it was a triple.
Many discussed that misconceptions were pressed on them throughout a
majority of their life and that this program really helped them to
see houseless individuals in a new light.
Residents also left with knowledge of the newer term houseless. This
term emphasizes that even if one doesn't have a physical house, it
doesn't mean that they don't have a home; the term home has a much
Many residents expressed a desire to do more research and find a way
to help, especially because many didn't realize the issue's severity.
Jane, a second-year resident, said "she was shocked when people were
reading their cards to hear how different everyone's situation was.
It helped her realize that houselessness is a more complex issue and
not just people being lazy."
This program enabled residents to learn about such a prevalent issue
whiled increasing confidence in discussions of more serious topics.
This program was also beneficial because all of the activities were
engaging and hands-on.
Word Count: 200
|Short evaluation of the program:|
This event was definitely a success! The set-up and clean-up for the
event went very smoothly, with both being completed well ahead of the
expected finish time. The group of people that planned this program
all contributed extensively. The fact that all of the activities were
so interactive really made the program much more enjoyable and
impactful for those who participated in it.
Although we only had 5 weeks to plan the program, we planned very
efficiently and utilized our time wisely, ensuring that we accounted
for everything that had to be covered and making a very detailed
logistical plan that was followed nearly perfectly on program day.
The timing of this event in the late evening also seemed to be very
desirable to residents.
We color coated the scenario cards by character which was very
helpful in passing them out to ensure that every person had a
different scenario card. Having the cakes, boba, and raffle prizes
also helped residents both attend and contribute throughout the
The main thing that could have been changed would definitely be
having the program on a week where less residents have midterms and
buying a few less cakes.
Word Count: 198
|How could this program be adapted to other campuses?|
As highlighted by our program, houselessness is a huge issue not only
in San Diego, but also throughout the whole country and all over the
world. It would be interesting for other schools to put their own
spin on the program, highlighting the severity of houselessness in
their own community and that of the rest of the nation.
For our program, we did not talk much about houseless individuals
facing severe weather due to the fact that San Diego has pretty
enjoyable weather year-round. Other campuses could try to address
this topic based on where their school is located. Tying this program
into the location of your campus is crucial for increasing impact.
In addition, it will be very important for other campuses to
continually incorporate engaging activities throughout. While they
can change the activities as they please, keeping them interactive
will be essential for residents to take the lessons with them for a
Lastly, it would be helpful for other campuses to put more time than
the five weeks we had into planning for this program. This will allow
for greater publicity and more creative ideas, thus resulting in a
more beneficial and successful program overall.
Word Count: 200