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Pittsburgh-area students attending the University of Notre Dame will take the "Urban Plunge" into the city from Thursday to Saturday. It's the 35th year for the event that aims to raise awareness about social justice and poverty through local programs hosted by social justice organizations including Just Harvest and the Thomas Merton Center.
Connor Hayes, a freshman at Notre Dame and Mount Lebanon native, said the students will stay in a homeless shelter overnight Thursday and Friday.
"I think it will be a really good experience just to be able to see what it's like to live in a homeless shelter and to be in these people's situations."
Hayes is majoring in political science, and he said the plunge will help him with his studies.
"In political science it's very easy to shift away from the real issues that are in front of me, like urban poverty or different urban issues," Hayes said. "It's going to be really good for me to have this concrete experience, and experience with urban poverty, going forward in my studies so I can really think about ways of using political science to solve these problems I'm being exposed to."
Before the plunge, students prepared by listening to lectures and reading about urban poverty and social justice. Nationwide, about 300 students participate in an "Urban Plunge" in 40 different cities.