By Matthew Dooley Staff writer
The Johnson Center for Civic Engagement hosted the annual Hunger Banquet at Susquehanna on Nov. 16.
According to sophomore Abbie Wolfe, the poverty program coordinator at the Johnson Center for Civic Engagement, the Hunger Banquet was a simulation where students were put into three different classes. There was an upper class, middle class and lower class. Participants then received meals according to those classes.
The event started with a speech from a community action committee worker. She discussed with the students how the situations they will be experiencing affect real people. The students were then free to enjoy their meals. However, the students were told there would be restrictions depending on what class they were put in.
According to Wolfe, “[The upper class was] served by a staff member from the JCCE. The ambiance [was] much different from the other two classes.”
After the students had eaten, a scenario took place where the upper and middle classes were able to invite someone from the lower class to eat with them.
They were stopped by a JCCE worker, impersonating a restaurant manager, as he kicked the lower class people from both the upper and middle class serving areas.
The Hunger Banquet concluded with a group discussion about how the students felt about what happened and how they feel knowing people are actually treated like that in the world today.
Sophomore Evan Anderson, the program coordinator and marketing coordinator for the JCCE, said: “The point really is to raise awareness of the ethical treatment of humans. So, obviously there is an unequal distribution of food, so that people in the wealthier classes have a lot of food, but don’t always use it all and people in lower classes don’t have access to all kinds of food that you and I do.”
The Hunger Banquet has been an annual event for the last three years. Wolfe hopes to keep improving the banquet. She said, “We are definitely trying each year to make it a little bit different, make it a little bit bigger, incorporate other people on campus.”
The JCCE wants to focus on the inclusiveness of campus by giving students the chance to step into someone else’s shoes, to see the world from a different perspective.
Anderson said: “As students in college, most of the time, we come from at least middle class families who are in a generally good state of affairs to the point we can go to college, get degrees and go into the job market with a lot of education and knowledge behind our belts and land decent enough jobs to support our lifestyle. But not everyone has this opportunity that we have and because of that I think it is very important to go to these simulations.”