Sleeping in boxes for a cause

By Peter Jones

On their way back from the football game on Saturday, students may notice those who didn’t tailgate sleeping in cardboard boxes in Haggin Field.

The UK chapter of Invisible Children will host “Displace Me,” an event to raise awareness for war-torn Uganda. In its second year, “Displace Me” allows students to transform Haggin Field into an imitation refugee camp by building cardboard shelters to sleep in.

The event begins at 8 p.m., and student refugees spend all night in their camp. The group will show the “Invisible Children” documentary and have several other activities such as guest speakers throughout the night, said Emily Browning, vice president of Invisible Children UK.

She said the group will have some cardboard to build huts, and she suggests participants dress warmly and bring a sleeping bag and pillow.

Anyone can participate, but the group asks for each student to bring an $8 donation. Browning explained that all of the money raised will help provide clean water and sanitation for the Lacor Secondary School in Uganda.

After participating in the national “Displace Me” in April 2007, event coordinator Jessica Kane decided to host a smaller version on UK’s campus, she said.

“People think when the war ends, (the country) goes back to normal but that’s just not the case,” Kane said.

She hopes students will gain a greater appreciation of the situation in Uganda, pointing out that the student-to-teacher ratio is 300:1 in the country.

Last year, 130 students participated in “Displace Me,” raising over $1,500. This year Kane hopes participants realize they can donate more than money.

“Donating money is not the only option,” she said. “What we need to donate is passion.”

Loren Hill, president of Invisible Children UK, attended “Displace Me” last year. She said event organizers used student refugees to represent the amount of people who died or went without food because of the conflict.

“We all stood up, and they would call for a number of people to sit down to show the percentage of people who were affected,” she said.

However, the most memorable part for Hill was the moment of silence, which lasted 22 minutes to represent the 22 years of conflict in Uganda.

“Twenty-two minutes was such a long time, so it was so intense, thinking during the silence about how long 22 years of conflict would last,” she said.

Creators of the documentary “Invisible Children” will be on campus Friday  at 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall to screen their new documentary, “Go.” Admission is free.