In the news

The Diamondback
Mary Clare Fischer

In any given year, 3.5 million people experience homelessness in America. That's equal to taking the population of this university and cloning it 97 times. And that's why the Maryland Student Public Interest Research Group (MaryPIRG) counts hunger and homelessness as one of its five broad campaigns — because something needs to be done.

MaryPIRG will work to lower that statistic tonight by holding "Rock Out Hunger," a benefit concert featuring six local and student groups. MaryPIRG will donate all proceeds to the National Coalition for the Homeless in honor of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week, which takes place from Nov. 12 to Nov. 20.

In April, MaryPIRG planned a concert to raise money for the victims of the tsunami in Japan, but only about 30 people came out to the multipurpose room of the Nyumburu Cultural Center.

This year, benefit coordinator Corinne Molz and MaryPIRG are holding the concert on the campus in the Hoff Theater, thanks to the Stamp Student Union. Molz said she hopes the location will draw more of a crowd.

The set list includes a capella groups Faux Paz and Mockapella, hip-hop group Phunktions, improvisational theater group Erasable Inc. and rock bands Anderson Pathfinders and Soul Card.

Molz said MaryPIRG contacted groups they thought would bring the most people to the event.

"Both Phunktions and Erasable Inc. have a good following, and we were really happy about that," she said. "We kind of sought out the groups that would bring in a crowd as well as put on a good show."

Phunktions co-director and junior dance major Bethany Disque said her group loves to perform any chance they get.

"We love to show our school how hard we work to do what we love best, and that's dancing," she said. "We chose to be a part of this particular performance, not only because it was another opportunity to perform on campus, but because it was supporting a good cause. If hearing that our group will be performing at this event will bring students in to help support MaryPIRG, then that is all we can really ask for."

The concert is from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. tonight at the Hoff Theater. Tickets are $5 at the door.