LATE YESTERDAY, as I was walking back from my last class, Loyola Marymount students had transformed the rolling lawn just west of the Alumni Mall and adjacent to the new multi-million dollar William H. Hannon Library into a very realistic homeless encampment.
The installation, a powerful visual articulation, is part of a community service event, Feed the Hungry, that the university has sponsored annually for the last decade. Students as well as faculty and staff and other local volunteers convene to feed the homeless population in L.A. focused on Santa Monica every Tuesday. The crew packs lunches on campus and then carpools west to pass out lunches to the needy.
Sponsored by campus ministry, the event, which begins November 16, is in line with the university’s social justice mission. The encampment is a concrete way to underscore the severity of the issue. Numbers are abstract, but fragile makeshift cardboard shelters rising on one of the first cold nights of the season conveys what pie charts, bar graphs can not.