WEB EXTRA: 200 students learn about poverty at Oxfam hunger banquet

About 200 students were forced to confront the issues of poverty and unequal wealth distribution during the Oxfam Hunger Banquet Tuesday night in the Marvin Center.

“This is a dramatized version of what goes on in the world because of poverty,” said freshman Talia Recht, a human services major and volunteer involved in the project.

Upon signing up for the event, participants were randomly assigned to a different hypothetical wealth group. The poorest group, which comprised the majority of people, was forced to sit on a floor littered with trash and given a simple meal of rice. The middle-class group sat at tables and ate meals of rice and beans. The highest-class group – the smallest of the three – dined on better food.

“We want to raise awareness, especially when we’re around the Thanksgiving holiday. We want to keep in mind those people who aren’t able to provide for their families,” said junior Patricia Pendergrast, another human services major and volunteer.

The Hunger Banquet is an annual event sponsored by the Office of Community Service, the Neighbors Project and the Student Activities Center. It is organized on a national level by Oxfam, an international non-governmental organization focused on alleviating global poverty.

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