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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Res Life sponsors 30-hour fast for Oxfam

    As you bite into your bagel this morning take a moment to acknowledge your fellow students who will begin a 30-hour fast at noon today, in an effort to help raise awareness about hunger and poverty in Tucson and around the world.

    Residence Life and the Residence Hall Association are sponsoring a hunger banquet as part of Oxfam International’s Fast for a World Harvest campaign. Oxfam International is a coalition of 13 organizations with the common interest of finding solutions to poverty and global injustice.

    Sophia Lafontant, senior organizer and training specialist for Oxfam America, said students should discuss global hunger and inadequate access to world resources more regularly.

    “”Students are spending a lot of their time on subject matter they care about,”” she said. “”To apply that to our work of raising awareness of the over 850 million people who experience hunger is a great way to get involved and speak out against injustice.””

    Sharon Claros, event organizer and Cochise Residence Hall director, said the fast is part of Residence Life’s El Mundo Diversity Initiative, which aims to promote social justice education on campus.

    The fast helps promote ideas of personal responsibility and equity in their relation to the global community, she said.

    “”We want students to be aware of issues relating to poverty and hunger and how they play a part in that,”” Claros said. “”There is more than enough food to feed everyone on the planet, but every 3.6 seconds someone dies from hunger, we want students to think about the reasons behind that.””

    Students will break their fast at the hunger banquet tomorrow evening at 6 p.m., in Pima Residence Hall, a 30-hour period that represents how long people in under-developed communities usually go without food, Claros said.

    Students typically donate between $10 and $20, she said. This year half of the money will be donated to Oxfam and the other half will go toward the Giving Tree, an organization that fights homelessness and poverty, and the Tucson Community Food Bank.

    Libby Wright, a representative from The Giving Tree, will speak about her experience as a former homeless person at tomorrow’s banquet. Representatives from Casa Maria and the Community Food Bank will also be on hand to distribute information on hunger in Tucson.

    “”Students can feel overwhelmed by global hunger and feel there’s not much they can do,”” Claros said.

    As students arrive, they will be given cards representing low, medium and high socioeconomic status. Students in the high social class will be seated at a table and served a three-course meal with silverware. Medium class will be seated in a chair and served rice and beans on a plate, while the low class will sit on the floor and eat rice from a napkin, she said.

    Students will assume a personal identity, such as an inner city resident of Sao Paulo, Brazil, or a rural farmer in Indonesia, representing individuals Oxfam has worked with.

    The low and mid socioeconomic class students will be given pizza at the end of the event, Claros said.

    This is the second year Residence Life has held the event, but this year is specific to students in the residence halls, she said. Last year the group targeted the whole campus and worked with Project Volunteer on a bigger scale, but time

    constraints prevented the organization from branching out this year.

    Cynnamon Woodberry, a nutritional sciences junior and vice president of programming with the Residence Hall Association, said keeping the event specific to students gives it a more personal feel.

    “”Students often get overlooked,”” she said. “”It’s a good cause and keeping it small helps students realize that hunger effects our own community; it’s not distant from us.””

    Though the event targets students in the dorms, all students are welcome to attend, Woodberry said.

    Brett Larson, a creative writing junior said today would be his first time fasting.

    “”I’ve never tried fasting for 30 hours,”” he said. “”I figure I’ll be sleeping nine of them, so I’m hoping it won’t be as bad as I think it will.””

    Students are advised to listen to their bodies and eat if they need to, Claros said.

    “”The point is to be aware of hunger,”” she said.

    Residence Life is expecting about 75 students to attend tomorrow’s banquet and hopes to raise $1000, Claros said.

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