Tickets on sale for global poverty-relief effort

PULLMAN — With an invitation for WSU students and the WSU and Pullman communities to “experience world hunger,” the WSU YMCA and a human development class are arranging five “hunger banquets” over four days, Nov. 15-18.
Tickets for $5 each went on sale Monday, Nov. 2. They will be sold every day 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Cougar Card Center, located in Room 60 of the CUB.
The idea is based on banquets given by Oxfam International, an international poverty-relief organization. Participants don’t know how much – or how little – food they might get. The point is to illustrate the inequality of food distribution worldwide – a few will get a nice meal and many will get some rice only.
“Our class and the YMCA hope attendees will think of these as ‘experiences of world hunger’ rather than dining events,” said Becky Dueben, HD205 instructor. “There will be a program to watch, but food at the event is actually more symbolic rather than the main attraction.”
The hunger banquets will be served during the week before WSU’s Thanksgiving break, which is also National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week across the U.S.
Dates, times and place of the five 90-minute hunger banquets are:
• Sunday, Nov. 15 at 4 p.m. in Ensminger Pavilion
• Sunday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. in Ensminger Pavilion
• Monday, Nov. 16 at 6:30 p.m. in Ensminger Pavilion
• Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 6:30 p.m. in Ensminger Pavilion
• Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 6:30 p.m. in Ensminger Pavilion
Dueben explains that the 108 students in her communications class—who are mostly first-semester freshmen—chose the hunger banquets as their semester project. Dueben and YMCA Executive Director Sarah Hanks prepared such an event for the students themselves in September, asking them to explore a theme of “Let’s Change the World.”
As many as 300 people can attend each of the five banquets, said Hanks, which are based on program templates designed by Oxfam, a nonprofit organization “committed to creating lasting solutions to global poverty, hunger and social injustice.” Any profits from the banquets will go to local and other charities, including Oxfam.
Canned food will also be accepted at the banquets, as part of a separate food drive.
Dueben’s class is linked to Doug Habib’s GenEd 111 class as part of the Freshman Focus learning community. Freshmen and other students are reading “Omnivore’s Dilemma,” the WSU Common Reading book for 2009, which deals broadly with the topic of food. Its author, Michael Pollan, will be in Pullman Jan. 13 to present a public lecture for the Common Reading Program.
For more information on numerous campus events taking place during National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week, visit the website of the WSU Center for Civic Engagement.

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