By Cheryl Hwang
Brittany Langmeyer, 25, the Director of Marketing and Design at StreetWise, recently spoke to a journalism class at Loyola University Chicago to inform students about International Street Paper and Vendor Week.
Langmeyer, a 2011 Loyola graduate with degrees in journalism and theater, shared her experiences with StreeWise, a nonprofit magazine which hires the homeless to sell the publication. Their purpose is to support and nurture the homeless to a stable environment.
StreetWise sells the magazines to the vendors for 90 cents, and the vendors sell them to the public for $2. Vendors keep the profits to find housing, and hopefully new job opportunities, Langmeyer said.
Speaking to a class at Loyola’s School of Communication Convergence Studio, Langmeyer told a story of a once homeless man who was offered a full-time position at a company based on his great marketing ability to sell the magazines.
Langmeyer said some homeless people just starting out vending may earn less than what they would make begging on the streets, but often times, they look to receive dignity and eventually making a stable income to support themselves.
“Not only do we help them with the needs, we help them help themselves,” Langmeyer said.
“There are many organizations like StreetWise all around the world. This network is called International Network of Street Papers (INSP) … International Street Paper and Vendor Week is a celebration of these organizations,” Langmeyer said.
“We want to get as much information out there as possible about the social issues around the homeless,” Langmeyer said.
Langmeyer also introduced that selling these magazines have been catching up to the technologically savvy era. The vendors are handing out digital codes to customers for digital versions of the StreetWise magazines.
“It’s great because now we are becoming more digital,” Langmeyer said.
At the end of her presentation, Langmeyer also sneaked in advice and encouragement for the undergraduate students to not only intern and work for StreetWise but gave advice necessary for aspiring professionals.