U students join in world hunger talk

by Elizabeth Giorgi

Some University students are intent on educating themselves on how to wipe out world hunger.

In a Friday teleconference in the Carlson School of Management, schools and communities across the United States and Canada addressed some of their concerns and saw a film regarding world hunger.

The conference, held in honor of World Food Day, focused on the United States’ impact on the fight against world hunger.

The main question that seemed to echo throughout the conference was what individuals could do to help relieve world hunger.

Hosts Daniel Zwerdling of National Public Radio and hunger expert and author Frances Moore Lappé responded to questions at the conference.

Lappé was intent on emphasizing that the power to change world hunger is available to everyone.

Fighting hunger is connected through a greater sense of power and self-respect in a world where food is a part of a system that robs people of choice, she said.

Lappé addressed getting involved by stating that more than 300 college campuses have Fair Trade Coffee clubs or some sort of food co-op association and encouraged people to seek out these organizations and get involved.

She advised students to start these clubs on campuses and to write letters to the editor of newspapers, asking for more coverage on world hunger.

“We are all part of one global system that is going to be fair and viable,” she said.

Zwerdling shared Lappé’s enthusiasm and said he was pleased so many people were calling in to ask about different ways to get involved.

“(Callers) have asked some very sharp questions,” he said.

Introduction to Africa (Afro 1021) students participated in the teleconference as part of their curriculum and were on the lineup of possible schools to ask questions.

Professor Victoria Coifman helped organize the University’s participation in the teleconference and worked with the National Conference presentation to write the Elements and Issues of Food Security section of the conference.

Members of the class were not the only people encouraged to attend. Several other University students as well as students from Plymouth High School attended.

“I was very impressed with the whole thing,” Coifman said.

Coifman’s class wrote a list of questions to ask if the class had the opportunity to ask them.

Although the class wasn’t able to ask a question directly, most of the questions they wanted answered were asked in one form or another, she said.

Biology junior Aaron Stelzer attended the conference as part of the African American studies course. Stelzer said he thought the conference was put together well.

“I was encouraged to gain ideas and perspectives on how to end hunger,” he said.

Lappé and Zwerdling concluded the conference by encouraging students to become active in their communities and thanked them for taking the time to become informed.