Willamette University Hunger Banquet Raises Awareness of Global Issues

The Community Service Learning Office of Willamette University will host its annual Hunger Banquet Friday, Jan. 27, from 5 to 7 p.m. in Cat Cavern at the Putnam University Center.

The Hunger Banquet is an event that explores issues surrounding world hunger and what the students of Willamette University can do to actively make a difference. The program will feature a speech given by anthropology Professor Joyce Millen, a "meal" that simulates the discrepancy in global food distribution and an open-ended discussion.

Those who partake in the meal will be divided into one of three groups, designated from the card they are given at random as they enter the dining area. The card, designed in the method used by many Oxfam Hunger Banquets, will have a short description of an individual living in the global society who comes from either a first-, second- or third- world country.

Twenty percent of the students will receive a first-world card, and will receive full meals. Thirty percent of the group will receive second-world cards and will represent individuals in second-world countries. They will have a simple meal away from the table. Fifty percent of the group will receive third-world cards, and sit on the floor and receive a meal of plain white rice. It will be up to the participants in the event to decide what to do with the situation at hand--whether to maintain their position, share food between the groups or come up with a number of alternatives. This interaction and the speech by Millen will give rise to an interesting discussion, as students share their thoughts and ideas about what they experienced during the meal and how this simulation relates to the global issue of world hunger.