Special to The Sun
In Oklahoma, one in four children struggles daily with hunger while the state ranks eighth overall nationally in the number of people per capita that go hungry.
University of Central Oklahoma students hope to add perspective to these staggering statistics during Poverty Awareness Week Sept. 30 through Oct. 5, featuring a series of events focused on hunger and homelessness.
Students will relocate from their conformable dorms to cardboard boxes on the campus sidewalks around Broncho Lake on Sept. 30 as a part of the Shack-a-thon. Students will remain as teams in their shacks through Wednesday morning, and experience living in austere and challenging conditions similar to a homeless environment.
During the event students compete by panhandling to raise the most money for Central Pantry, the university’s new service venture opening Nov. 9.
Non-perishable and hygiene items will be collected throughout the week for Central Pantry. Items will be accepted in the Volunteer and Service Learning Center (VSLC) office located in the Nigh University Center (NUC), Room 212, or in one of the 10 bins located throughout the campus.
Once open, Central Pantry will serve current students, faculty and staff in need from its location in the NUC, Room 203.
Central will host a hunger simulation facilitated by the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. Oct. 4 in the NUC’s Cherokee Room. It will demonstrate the challenges of living in poverty and struggling with food insecurity.
“With such a significant problem in our state, we want a simulation of hunger and poverty to raise student awareness and perhaps compel students to get involved in service activities or in beginning to address root cause issues within our state,” said Sharra Hynes, Ph.D., director of the VSLC, which sponsors the week’s events.
For more information on Poverty Awareness Week call the VSLC at 974-2621 or visit www.uco.edu/student-affairs/vslc.