Hunger Banquet seeks to highlight the problem of global poverty

Samantha Wright

As part of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, Housing and Residence Life is hosting a “Hunger Banquet” tomorrow, starting at 7 p.m. to help teach students about poverty and hunger by letting them experience it for themselves.

As students walk onto the third floor of Downing Student Union, they will randomly be sorted into one of three groups: upper class, middle class and lower class. The group each students is in will determine their meal for the evening. 

Those in the upper class will receive a full Italian-style dinner, while those in the middle class will receive a cup of rice and cup of beans. Those in the lower class will receive only rice. 

This dinner hopes to show students the impact poverty has on people’s way of life. After students have eaten, staff and volunteers will help facilitate a discussion about hunger and poverty.

Sasha Gibson, HRL coordinator for Bemis Lawrence Hall, said HRL hopes to encourage reflection in students.

“We have a discussion based around that, and we have an opportunity for students to share what they’re thinking as they think about and reflect on what it would be like to either live on a cup of rice a day, or what it would be like to know you can have a full meal every night and look over there at your friends eating that rice and beans,” she said.

After the discussion, Gibson said, the food table will be opened so all students can have as much food as they like.

Gibson said she hopes to start students thinking about what they can do to help.

“I think that what we’re really hoping to accomplish is to get a dialogue started about what hunger looks like and what poverty looks like and hopefully get students thinking about what little things they can do to make a difference in our community at WKU and in Bowling Green,” she said.

 Minnette Ellis, coordinator for HRL, said students should come if they want to learn something new.

“Students should come if they want to learn more about what hunger is really like based on wealth and socioeconomic status, or if they just want to learn something new or be a little bit out of their comfort zone,” Ellis said.

Radcliff sophomore Tiffany DeLoach said this event will help show students a new perspective.

“Not everybody gets to eat every day, and some people take that for granted, and it’s important to take that into perspective,” DeLoach said. “You just need a reality check sometimes.”