Learning How to be Hungry
FAU Honors College's Anthropology Club Hosts Annual Hunger Banquet
September 30th, 2013 (Jupiter, FL)— Students at Florida Atlantic University’s Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College regularly celebrate diversity and promote cultural awareness. In fact, they have even formed a student club expressly for that purpose. The Anthropology Club’s mission is to promote greater cultural understanding throughout FAU’s MacArthur Campus and the University as a whole and to achieve this goal by hosting events that help students see the world from the perspectives of different cultures. This September, the Anthropology Club hosted its annual Oxfam Hunger Banquet, which gave students a firsthand view of the challenges faced by many people around the world on a day-to-day basis.
Elizabeth Jellie is a junior at the Honors College who serves as the president of the Anthropology Club. For Jellie, the Hunger Banquet is an important tradition at the Wilkes Honors College. “ Every year students attend the annual Oxfam Hunger Banquet to get firsthand experience of just how wide the gap between rich and poor is throughout most of the world,” she explains. “Attendees are divided into three groups: upper, middle, and lower class. Most find themselves in lower class and have only plain rice for dinner. A smaller portion sits in middle class, and has beans, rice, and water for dinner. An even smaller portion is the upper class, having spaghetti and soda for dinner.” Dinner is also accompanied by a documentary on world poverty, and by some words from a visiting speaker. By proportionally dividing the attendees according to global percentages of poverty and affluence, visitors are presented with a concrete visual representation of how many people around the world face hunger on a daily basis. “The goal of the banquet is to demonstrate to students how huge the gap between the affluent 1% and everybody else is. Most of our fellow humans barely have enough food to feed themselves, much less their families,” states Jellie.
Jellie’s hope is that the banquet will inspire students to work actively to combat world hunger. In order to further that goal, the Anthropology Club teamed up with the Jupiter campus SAVI (Students Advocating Volunteer Involvement) to organize this year’s banquet. This Hunger Banquet marks the first time that SAVI and Anthropology Club have worked together on this project, and Jellie sees this partnership as a great way to advocate for more student involvement. “We are so excited to work with SAVI this year!” she exclaims. The club is also planning other upcoming service events this semester, such as selling Boo-grams before Halloween to raise money for charity. The goal of all of these efforts, however, is to open students’ eyes to the realities of life for members of other cultures. “Letting others catch a glimpse of the way different people in different places live is what we’re all about,” insists Jellie. “I think that the Hunger Banquet allows all of us to learn a little bit about our fellow humans. It’s a great change from everyday life.”
This year, the Hunger Banquet was a great success, with many students in attendance. Jellie hopes that the banquet and other Anthropology Club events will encourage students to become actively involved in global efforts to end hunger. “Oftentimes we as students take for granted how lucky we are. Hopefully the banquet inspires students to get out there and try to change this!” she says. She encourages her fellow students to stay updated about the Anthropology Club’s events through their Facebook page, and hopes that more students will become involved in the club throughout the semester. For Jellie and other members of the Honors College, this club is one more way to make a difference in their community, locally and globally.
About Florida Atlantic University: Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit www.fau.edu