Students camp in for literacy fundraiser

Many students at UTM can boast of—or confess to—having spent all night at the Library. But not many can say theyve done it for six nights in a row.

Last week, three UTM students, Masoud-Al-Rawahi, Sofia Marques De Sa and Crystie Doell, spent seven straight days living in a blue nylon tent, underneath large cardboard signs and glowing Christmas lights, at the entrance of the Library. They collected donations and spread awareness as part Live-In-For-Literacy, a cross-country initiative.

Masoud, a fourth-year CCIT student and vice president of the UTM Me to We club, organized the Live-In campaign as their latest fundraiser.

We were approached by an organization from Queens University called Dream, said Masoud. They told us about this joint project between eight Canadian Universities, to bring awareness and raise funds for libraries and books in India. Teams from all eight universities would camp out in their respective libraries for eight days, from January 22 to January 30.

After asking the HMLAC for permission and support, buying a tent, and figuring out a shift system so they could each shower and go to class, Masoud and Me to We president Crystie Doell organized the Live-In campaign at UTM. Masoud, along with friend Sofia Marques De Sa, who joined in to help, found himself settling in for six nights sleeping on an air mattress inside the tent.

Many people ask us if we actually stay overnight, and yes, we do. The first night was a bit weird. The cleaning staff warned us that we might hear some odd noises and that definitely did happen, said Masoud.

Throughout the seven days, many students inched by, eyeballing the large tent, blankets, donation boxes and scattered belongings. A few linger, and Masoud perked up to tell them about the cause and the goal as they slipped a few coins in the donation boxes. Between the eight participating universities, including Concordia, McMaster, Queens, University of British Columbia, U of T St. George campus and York, the goal is to raise $20,000 to build a library and publish 10,000 childrens books by local authors for local communities in India. The UTM teams goal was to raise $1000.

Although most students who walked by are puzzled, Masoud has had differing reactions from students. Lots of weird looks and stares. Ive even had people ask if were campaigning to keep the library open 24/7!

For more information on the The Live-In-For-Literacy initiative, Dream and the participating universities, visit

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