For many, camping out is a fun way to spend time with family and friends, knowing they have a home to go back to in the morning. Others camp out every night because they have nowhere else to sleep.The Ohio State University at Newark Dean/Director William L. MacDonald, Ph.D., will be sleeping outside on April 7 at the shared campus of Ohio State Newark and Central Ohio Technical College with United Way Executive Director Deb Dingus to kick off 50 the United Way and bring awareness to homelessness in Licking County. They will be camping out behind the John L. and Christine Warner Library and Student Center. Faculty, staff and students are invited to participate in the fundraising event.
“When most of us think about camping out, we forget that there are people who are sleeping outside every night,” said MacDonald. “That United Way brings attention to homelessness and diversity is fantastic, and 50 the United Way will be a great way to do so.” MacDonald is excited about the event and the Newark campus’s involvement, saying that he has never been a part of an event like this.
50 the United Way is an initiative headed by Dingus. She will be walking through all 25 townships of Licking County for 50 days from April 7 to May 26, and she hopes to get as many people involved as possible. “I believe the best way to see what’s happening in Licking County is to get out on the street and talk to people face-to-face,” said Dingus. She says the Newark campus is a great place to kick off the initiative because of the campus’s social work programs and commitment to diversity. COTC offers an associate degree in human services while Ohio State Newark offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work.
The public is encouraged to participate as well. In addition to “sleeping out” and recording the experience on social media, participants can sign up to walk with Dingus for 50 minutes or more as she travels through local communities. Everyone is invited to share stories about how United Way has impacted their life on Facebook, Twitter (@UWLickingCo) and Instagram.
The launch of 50 the United Way happens the night before COTC and Ohio State Newark host the 7th Annual Community Intercultural Relations Conference on April 8. Local business leaders, social services, residents as well as college students, staff and faculty will participate in interactive activities that promote engagement and raise awareness about Newark’s diverse community.
To explore how you can get involved with 50 the United Way, contact Luellen Deeds or Leigh Ann Miller at 740-345-6685 or [email protected] For more information or to register for the Community Intercultural Relations Conference, contact Vorley Taylor at 740-366-9443 or [email protected]