According to the U.S. Department of Education, more than 1.1 million students in the United States were homeless last year, and the WKU ALIVE Center’s Student Ambassadors of Service plan to increase awareness of the issue during National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week Nov. 18-23. The student group is organizing efforts to promote awareness of poverty-related issues, encourage individuals to serve in multiple capacities during the week, and share ways to stay involved during the year.
“Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is important to the student ambassadors of service because hunger and homelessness is one of our issue-based focus areas. The fact that it’s a nationally recognized week was more motivation for us to do something for the WKU campus,” said Joanna Williams, Student Ambassadors of Service Student Coordinator.
The activities will begin on Monday (Nov. 18) with Stand Up, in which students will share information on hunger and homelessness and how other students can get involved, and encourage students to take a pledge to continue spreading awareness. There will be four tables set up across campus from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Mass Media and Technology Hall lobby, Grise Hall fourth floor, Downing Student Union lobby and Garrett Conference Center lobby. Later that day, Housing and Residence Life will have its annual Shantytown event on WKU’s South Lawn from 4 to 6 p.m.
Activities will continue Tuesday (Nov. 19) with the Hunger Walk. Students will start at the Guthrie Bell Tower at 4 p.m. and walk to Environmental Sciences and Technology Building, room 260, where WKU Food Pantry Coordinator Sarah Arnold will discuss why she started the food pantry and its importance to the campus. In addition, Lauren Cunningham will open and close with a song.
On Wednesday (Nov. 20), the Student Ambassadors of Service will partner with the Wesley Foundation to host an Oxfam World Hunger Banquet from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Wesley Foundation. Individuals participating in the World Hunger Banquet should attend with the mindset of learning about world poverty issues and partaking of meals in a way that is representative of the area of the world in which they will be randomly assigned. Donations will be accepted for the WKU Food Pantry in the form of non-perishable food or hygiene products.
On Thursday (Nov. 21), up to 10 volunteers will help serve lunch at the Salvation Army from noon to 1 p.m. On Friday (Nov. 22), a homelessness simulation will begin at 8 p.m. and continue until noon Saturday. Students interested in participating in the homeless simulation must sign up online at www.wku.edu/alive by Monday (Nov. 18); participants will meet at The Foundry.
“We hope these events make a difference because each one has a keen focus on awareness. Once a student becomes more aware of an issue they are more likely to seek out how they can be educated. We hope all the events make students aware and help them learn more about the issues in the process,” Williams said.
For more about Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, visit http://www.wku.edu/alive or call (270) 782-0082. The ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships supports community development locally and abroad through campus and community partnerships. The ALIVE CCP connects students, faculty, staff, and community members to resources and opportunities for meaningful service and public scholarship.
Contact: Aurelia Spaulding, (270) 782-0082.