Oct 092005
 
Authors: Skylar Rick

With the goal of having students realize the amount of poverty in the world, International Development Studies and Oxfam America will be hosting a hunger banquet Oct. 11.

"We did this to go along with U.N. Hunger day, which is Oct. 16," said Jacqueline Sene, coordinator of international education. "The most important thing is to educate students about hunger all over [the world]."

The event, which costs $6 or one meal plan swipe, will divide students into categories based upon the percentage of high, middle and lower class people in the world.

"The students will draw a ticket randomly that puts them into three categories," said Crystal Elmore, publications coordinator for residential dining services. "The higher class will be 15 percent of students, the middle class will be 25 percent and the lower class will be 60 percent."

These separate groups will then be served meals based on what the person in that income group would eat on a daily basis.

"The lowest income will have just rice and water, the middle class will have rice and beans, and the higher class will have pasta and salad," Sene said.

Along with being divided into income groups, the students will have a more personal connection to the event.

"Each ticket has a name of a person on it and a biography of that person, as well as saying their income class," said Amanda Vander Meer, graduate student in plant pathology.

There will also be a visual presentation, as well as discussion of what the students just experienced.

Another thing that will be available to students is counseling, to help those who need to talk.

"Some students feel really bad when they get the high income, and they will share their food," Sene said. "And some start crying and get angry over what they have experienced."

The money collected will be donated to Oxfam to help with their poverty programs.

"Any proceeds, which will be a lot because the dining services will donate food [for the program], will go to Oxfam relief of the poor," Vander Meer said. "The dining halls will also be donating some food, along with cans from Cans Around the Oval, to the food bank."

Although International Studies has done events like this in the past, this is the first year they have done a hunger banquet.

"We have done sacrificial meals to donate to the hungry where students have given a meal out of their meal plan," Sene said. "But this is the first time that we have included the residence halls."

Vander Meer, who had seen the idea at her previous school, brought the idea to International Development Studies.

"I had been to a hunger banquet before and I ran into hungerbanquet.org one day and remembered about it," Vander Meer said. "I then called International Programs and they said they said that they would do it."

Oxfam created the program that the 30 volunteers will be presenting.

"Everything we are going to do has been designed by Oxfam," Vander Meer said. "They have provided scripts and hints of things to do also."

The hope for Vander Meer and others who are putting on this program is that afterwards the students will be able to realize how much poverty affects the world.

"[This program] is a really powerful way for people to learn about poverty," Vander Meer said. "People see it on TV and in newspapers, but this is a more powerful way to put it into perspective."

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