When guests showed up to a Hunger Banquet on April 7 at Front Range Community College in Westminster, what they ended up eating was left up to chance. Some enjoyed a nice chicken meal while sitting at a decorated table, while others sat on the floor and ate only rice.
This difference in meals was part of a project conducted by English and Sociology students, in collaboration with Student Life and the Diversity Committee, at FRCC to raise awareness on world hunger issues on campus. The luck-of-the-draw situation was an example that people in the world are born into relative prosperity and others into poverty.
At the beginning of the banquet, each guest drew a ticket which assigned them to either a high, middle or low income tier based on the most recent statistics of people living in poverty. Those who drew the high income ticket had a well-balanced meal of chicken, vegetables, salad and dessert, those who drew the middle income ticket had rice and beans and those who drew the low income ticket had rice.
Elizabeth Jones ended up with a low income ticket. She had to wait for all of the men to serve themselves rice before she was able to eat. Jones said the experience was eye opening.
“I think this is a great way to really show what some people have when it comes to food,” she said. “I’m glad I came.”
English professor April Lewandowski said the banquet was a perfect connection between raising world hunger awareness and having students participate in a service learning event on campus.
“For the English students, this project allowed them to share a message with a purpose to an audience,” she said. “The students really got involved by making posters and doing outreach throughout the campus to get people to come participate.”
Sociology professor Marty Gonzales said the banquet was an opportunity for her students to bring a real level of awareness to the issue of hunger both around the world and in the United States. She said service learning projects, like this one, is a different way of learning.
“Some students are used to this kind of project,” she said. “But I think it’s a unique experience for community college students.”
The Hunger Banquet at Front Range was made possible through Oxfam America Hunger Banquet. For more information, visit www.oxfamamerica.org.