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November 11, 2002

Hunger 101: College Students Learn About Global Hunger at Banquet

Baltimore, Md. – On Tuesday, November 12, college students will know what it is like to go hungry -- at least for a little while. At UMBC's Oxfam Hunger Awareness Banquet, students will be randomly assigned a “new life,” complete with a new name, nationality and economic status. Depending on their class-level, the students will either be served a four-course meal at a dining room table or sit on the floor and eat a small serving of rice – if they are lucky (food is scarce, so not all will eat). The banquet will be held in UMBC's Skylight Room (The Commons) on November 12, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Alicia Wilson, a UMBC junior Public Affairs Scholar, is coordinating the event and expects to open some eyes over the course of the meal. She has led similar events at colleges across the country -- Georgia Tech, Harvard, Morehouse -- and has seen a variety of reactions, particularly among the"upper class."

"Sometimes they will share their food, wanting to help out the other classes. Other times, I've seen mini-revolts and protests by the lower classes." There is also a bit of movement between the classes. "We will move some of the poor up to the table and move the wealthy down to the poor level -- to show how fragile the balance is. This is particularly relevant when speaking about corporate integrity, and the effects that unethical business practices can have on individuals."

The Oxfam program at UMBC is the only such program at a college in the Baltimore area --George Washington University is the nearest college with Oxfam. Wilson's goal for the evening is to generate some awareness among students. "We want to show people that they do have a stake in hunger -- inthe U.S. and around the world. We want to help them understand what it means to be a global citizen."

This event is sponsored by the UMBC Office of Student Life, the Golden Key National Honors Society and the Public Affairs Scholars Program.

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Posted by dwinds1 at November 11, 2002 12:00 AM