UCI Students Fight Hunger
Students gathered last Monday at the Vista del Campo Community Center Dining Room to fight hunger. Oxfam America at UC Irvine hosted its annual Hunger Banquet at VDC to discuss the issues of poverty and hunger that plague the world, even the United States.
Oxfam America is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting fair trade at home and abroad. The organization first began in Oxford, England during World War II as an aid-relief agency for Allied forces.
Currently, Oxfam works internationally, advocating human rights through its efforts to create new war policies on land mines and promoting fair-trade coffee in the United States. One of their most popular campaigns is the hunger banquet, which is a nationally sponsored program that educates students about current global issues of poverty and hunger.
The banquet is a condensed look at the real-life inequalities of our world.
Although the event progressed successfully, it was at first delayed by the absence of Vice Chancellor Manuel Gomez. Although he had reserved a spot, he did not show up.
The event began with students randomly picking cards from a basket. The cards designated them as high, medium or low class. Before the participants even entered the dining hall, they were segregated by sex to illustrate that even in poverty, gender is still an issue.
As the students entered the hall, they were aghast at the seating arrangements. The seven members of the high class were seated at a decorated table, the 14 people of the middle class were seated on chairs, and the 30 members of the low class were seated on the floor. Such a set-up proportionally represented the access of resources for the 6.3 billion people living on earth.
After the initial shock wore off, a presentation was given about the realities of poverty and hunger. Students were also told how they as individuals could support Oxfam in helping to end hunger.
But the climax of the event arrived when the high-class was lavished with an array of different foods and beverages. The middle class was only served bread, rice and water and the low class was only given rice and water with no utensils provided.
Once the food was served, the room was clouded by an uncomfortable silence. The participants were speechless