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More than 100 Lafayette students will actively participate in Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week Sunday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 22.

The Community Renewal Team of the Landis Community Outreach Center is organizing the week’s events, which are free and open to the public. Also helping in planning are 10 first-year students in the First-Year Seminar “Cooking, Culture, and Cinema,” taught by Michelle Geoffrion-Vinci, assistant professor of foreign languages and literature, and four students from the First-Year Seminar “Essentials for Multicultural Competence,” taught by Timothy Silvestri, coordinator of drug and alcohol services.

“Globally, 18,000 people die a day from hunger or a related cause. That’s one every 3.6 seconds,” says neuroscience major Christine Bender ’04 of Gibsonia, Pa., leader of the renewal team. “Although Easton isn’t a Third World country, it’s important for studentsto be reminded that other people don’t have it as good as they do. The goal of this week is to raise awareness and let students know that they can do a lot to help,” she says.

The schedule of events:

Sunday, Nov. 17: Midnight Run to New York City — Approximately 30 students will deliver brown bag dinners and socks and mittens to the needy. Organized by government and law major Devan Theiler ’04 (Bridgewater, N.J.).

Wednesday, Nov. 20: Cardboard City on the Quad — Students will sleep outside in cardboard boxes to demonstrate what many face every day. The event will run from about 10 p.m.-8 a.m. Organized by electrical and computer engineering major Kristen Radecsky ’04 (Flemington, N.J.).

Thursday, Nov. 21: OxFam Hunger Banquet — Students will participate in a global dinner in which they will role-play people from around the globe and assume a certain status in society. The event will take place 6 p.m. in the Marlo Room of Farinon College Center. Organized by Bender.

(POSTPONED due to illness) Friday, Nov. 22: “Faces of Homelessness” Brown Bag – Residents of Safe Harbor Homeless Shelter will discuss the challenges of their lives at noon in Interfaith Chapel, Hogg Hall. Organized by Bender.

There will also be informational and donation booths set up throughout the week in the Farinon Center and Marquis Dining Halls. Computer science major Isaac Esseku ’05 (Accra, Ghana) and International Affairs major Tessa Shambaugh ’04 (Flower Mound, Tex.) have organized an informational booth on Fair Trade coffee. Millions of farmers around the world are “being cheated out of wages by major coffee producers,” according to the students. The pair urges students to “come sample Fair Trade coffee and learn about reasons for advocacy of Fair Trade versus. Free Trade coffee.” There will also be a booth where students can donate their meal equivalency to OxFam America, a global grassroots non-profit that helps eliminate world hunger.

Related projects have included food organization at the ProJeCt for People food bank on Nov. 9 and a food drive organized by economics and business major Nick Taro ’04 (Bernardsville, N.J.), which began Monday and continues through Nov. 22. Taro became involved through his fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta. During the drive, Greek organizations and residence halls will compete to see who can collect the most food items, which will be donated to a local food pantry. A children’s poverty education program organized by Bender will also be incorporated into the Kids in the Community program administered through the Landis Community Outreach Center throughout the week.

Bender and Esseku attended a weeklong conference in Boston highlighting hunger and homelessness issues. OxFam America, an organization committed to mobilizing college students and promoting community service and activism, sponsored the conference. OxFam has dubbed them “change leaders,” making them part of a 90-person nationwide group selected to bring various issues to the forefront of college campuses. Bender’s focus is hunger and homelessness awareness, while Esseku is working on promotion of Fair Trade coffee, soon to be an option at Lafayette’s Gilbert’s CafĂ©. In the spring semester, they will focus on the global AIDS crisis.

Categorized in: Students