Trojan Shelter, a student group operating a homeless shelter in Koreatown for college students, gets a helping hand this time of year when USC students answer the call of GivingTuesday.
GivingTuesday, also known as the National Day of Giving, takes place annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. The day was created and officially recognized in 2012, when two philanthropic organizations, the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, came together with the idea of encouraging generosity and giving.
GivingTuesday instantly gained traction through support from corporate partners. Companies such as Sony, Google and Microsoft were part of a founding group committed to the philanthropic cause. Social media platforms and hashtag activism (#GivingTuesday) also contributed to the enormous popularity of the holiday.
Kirin Peterson, the co-president of Trojan Shelter, says GivingTuesday is an “invaluable” holiday.
“It’s a great way to highlight organizations that you can donate to and make a change,” Peterson said.
GivingTuesday is a day for USC philanthropic organizations to advance their cause and spread awareness for their work.
For Trojan Shelter, GivingTuesday presents a rare opportunity to spread awareness on the issue of student homelessness, which Peterson says is a “much bigger issue than people think.” An estimated 20% of California community college students and 5% of UC students experience homelessness, according to a 2020 report conducted by UCLA. Trojan Shelter
This GivingTuesday, Trojan Shelter worked on a “belonging” focused fundraising drive with their partner organization, Students 4 Students, which operates shelter programs at UCLA, UC Davis and UC Santa Cruz.
Trojan Shelter became a student organization in 2018 and started operating their shelter in 2019. They advocate for a collaborative, student-for-student model to address student homelessness. At Trojan Shelter, funding and operations are completely managed by USC students.
“Giving Tuesday is a great way to highlight that issue and let students know that, hey, it’s your friends, it’s your peers that are in the same stage of life as you,” Peterson said. “And when you think about doing college without having a safe place to stay, it’s just exponentially harder.”
Yasmin C. Balci contributed to this story.