Dozens of SJSU students camp out to highlight homelessness

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Dozens of students in the South Bay are camped out on a college campus Thursday night to raise awareness on homelessness.

Tents went up near San Jose State University's famous statue of Olympic medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos.

RELATED: San Jose State University has highest number of homeless students across CSU system

The raised fists are symbolic of what the students are demanding.

"Enough is enough, a change needs to happen right now," said Juan Marrufo, a 4th-year sociology student.

That change is related to the housing crisis impacting college students.

According to a recent CSU report, 13.2 percent of San Jose State students are either homeless or have dealt with it while in school. That's the highest percentage of any CSU campus.

"I'm one of 4,000 students here at SJSU that have experienced this situation," said Dalia Angel, a student set to graduate next semester.

Angel had been living out of her car for a month, not being able to pay both rent and tuition.

"It was very hard for me to concentrate on my academics when all I could think about is, how am I going to get out of this, how am I going to heat up food," she recalled.

The Student Homeless Alliance wants the university to provide more resources to those in need, such as emergency bed space in dorms and setting aside a dozen parking spaces for students living out of their cars.
School administrators have met with the group and are looking at ways to address the needs of those struggling students.

But officials say the issue is part of a larger problem.

"This is one of those intractable challenges that we have to be partnering with the city, the county, with community-based organizations to figure out how you begin to create a web so we address this," said Patrick Day, vice president for student affairs at SJSU.

For Angel, her situation has improved but that's not the case for many others.

"It's already expensive to be a college student in Silicon Valley but it's more expensive to be able to survive out here and be a student," Angel said,

As a way of improving communication, school administrators say they will issue a campus-wide message to all students on Friday to better inform them of the housing and food resources available.
Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.