The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Banquet offers food for thought

The Haiti Connection hosted a Hunger Banquet in the basement of the Newman Catholic Center Thursday night where students attempted to accurately portray inequalities all over the world.

Every participant was randomly given an identity, complete with a name, country of origin and fictional money to buy food at the markets set up all throughout the basement. In addition, some were given a sum of money and an entire family to try and feed with their limited resources, along with themselves.

The market had a variety of foods to be purchased with fictional dollars. Everything from fruit to chicken breast was served.

A restaurant was constructed for only the wealthiest of the participants costing $15 fictional money, a fortune to those that resided in a poorer country.

Inside they were served a three course meal, considerably nicer than the majority of the participants.

Lauren LaPlante, a senior journalism major, was one of the many who found themselves with scant resources and an entire family to feed.

“I have a family of four and I only managed to buy a roll, rice and beans and a banana,” LaPlante said.

Participants were encouraged to do what needed to be done to feed themselves, and this included begging for more money and even stealing. Those who could not afford food begged those who had an abundance of it, generally making little progress. Toward the end of the event, theft was rampant.

After the marketplace simulation was over, Craig Eckert, the events emcee, gathered everyone together to discuss what had taken place. He hoped the experience would educate those that participated and shared some statistics with the group.

“With all the money Americans use to purchase cosmetics and makeup, everyone on the planet could have clean water,” Eckert said.

Bamidele Elegbede, a freshman undecided major, found the experience to be shockingly similar to what he experienced in his home country of Nigeria.

“In Nigeria this happens daily, people steal constantly just to survive. If something isn’t done more of these people are going to die,” Elegbede said.

According to Roy Lanham, the adviser to the Haiti Connection, every 3.6 seconds someone starves to death. The event took place over the course of an hour, meaning 1,000 people starved to death while the simulation took place.

Lanham encouraged all those present to try and save what little money they could to help those struggling in Haiti.

Christy Anderson, a junior communications studies and social disorder science major, stressed that this wasn’t a fundraiser, but people could donate directly to the Haiti Connection if they wanted.

Of the proceeds, 80 percent will go to help fund projects in Haiti, while the other 20 percent will go to the Charleston food pantry.

Jonathan Posch can be reached at 581-7942 or [email protected]

Banquet offers food for thought

Banquet offers food for thought

Molly Malec, a freshman pre-engineering major, spoons out a plateful of rice at the Hunger Banquet at the Newman Catholic Center Thursday. (Kenji Ohseki


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