News  Students camp out for literacy

Participants hope to raise $40,000 for libraries in India

Sharone Daniel awoke at 4 a.m. last week to find a floor buffing machine inches from her face. Daniel, who had been sleeping In Concordia University’s Webster Library for the past five days, simply rolled over and tried to get back to sleep while the janitor operating the buffer apologized.

“It’s called Live-in for Literacy,” explained Daniel, a fourth-year Human Relations and Religion student at Concordia. Students live in a university library for ten days to raise money for education in developing countries.

Since the fundraiser began at Queen’s University four years ago, Live-in for Literacy has raised $50,000. The money has gone toward building computer labs in Cambodia and libraries in Nepal.

This year, seven Canadian university libraries are housing two students each until the end of the fundraiser today at 1 p.m. The students hope to raise $40,000 for the construction of nine libraries in India.

Daniel started by sharing a tent in the library foyer with third-year Concordia student Neeka Fedyshyn, but she soon decided to sleep on an adjacent couch because it was more comfortable.

“It was impossible to sleep on the floor,” she said, looking a little tired.

Fedyshyn, who had brought in a cot from home, stayed in the tent. Beside the tent, two large suitcases overflowed with clothes and schoolwork, while a rope barrier just in front of the suitcases doubled as a clothesline.

As the Concordia team explained, despite the positive reaction to the fundraiser, there were a few misunderstandings.

“One girl walked past, like, ten times,” said Daniel.

The hardest challenge, however, was missing a week’s worth of classes.

“The constant interruption makes it difficult to study,” said Daniel. “But one of my professors stopped by and donated $20 and said, ‘Don’t worry about your assignments.’”

According to the event’s rules, participants are only allowed to leave the library for five minutes each hour, but are allowed to accumulate unused breaks, leaving enough free time to run to the gym in the morning and shower.

The library allowed them to bring in a small fridge to hold food – most of which had been donated by friends. In the evening, when the building was closed, they got their exercise.

“Yesterday we were running up and down the stairs and doing sprints around the stacks,” said Daniel.

Still, the students didn’t find it that tough.

“I would do this week after week,” said Fedyshyn.

Donations can still be made at