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Literacy the ‘great equalizer’

During their camp out at Laurentian University’s J.N. Desmarais Library, Nathan Knott, Mark Mancini and Chloe Mirfield have experienced a few strange things. “It’s a little spooky at night,” Knott, a fourth-year political science student, said.
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Laurentian University students Nathan Knott (left), Mark Mancini and Chloe Mirfield (not in picture) are camping out in the university’s J.N. Desmarais Library this week to raise funds for Live-in for Literacy. Photo by Marg Seregelyi.

During their camp out at Laurentian University’s J.N. Desmarais Library, Nathan Knott, Mark Mancini and Chloe Mirfield have experienced a few strange things.

“It’s a little spooky at night,” Knott, a fourth-year political science student, said. “We’ve kind of got used to it by now.”

Despite having to be a bit creative to find a hot shower, the three students are determined to make it to Jan. 25, when they complete their week-long library campout.

Live-in for Literacy is a student fundraising initiative which promotes the importance of literacy and raises money to build educational facilities in developing countries.

This year, Laurentian, Ottawa University, Queen’s University and York University students hope collectively to raise $20,000 to build two libraries in India and to support education programs for women in developing countries.

After four years of participation, the event has become something of a tradition at Laurentian. This year’s participants hope to raise $5,000 for the cause, boosting last year’s total by $1,000.

They’re raffling off prizes donated by local businesses, selling candy kebobs and holding a gumball guessing contest, as well as accepting donations.

“We’ve had a lot of support from the community, especially from people throughout Laurentian University,” Knott said. “We’re eternally grateful.”

Mancini, a third-year political science student, said he’s passionate about literacy as a key to building democratic and educated societies.

“That’s my angle of why this is such an important initiative, because it builds democracy,” he said. “It helps create educated citizens in other countries. That makes a better world for us all.”

Mirfield, a fourth-year history and political science student, said beyond raising funds for those in need, the event makes students think about the importance of literacy in their own lives.

It’s difficult to function in modern society without being literate, she said.


“I think that literacy is a great equalizer, especially with women,” Mirfield said. “Giving them the power to acquire knowledge ... is very important.”

Anyone who would like to contribute to the fundraiser is asked to drop by the students’ tent while the library is open or visit liveinforliteracy.com.


Heidi Ulrichsen

About the Author: Heidi Ulrichsen

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