Students sink teeth into hunger drive
Food is the global citizenship theme this year and many classes have adjusted their curriculum to focus on this daily necessity. One course in particular, a political science course taught by professor Tahvildaran-Jesswein pushed the envelope Monday evening by holding the Hunger Awareness Banquet in the cafeteria.
As people arrived at the banquet, they were assigned a social class and later food was provided in accordance with that. Those in the highest class received a chicken dinner and a few in the very lowest class received nothing.
The people were split up in direct proportion to the worlds hunger statistics, which were provided by Oxfam America. Oxfam America, who sponsored the event, is an organization dedicated to finding a solution to poverty and hunger.
"Mostly this night is about Oxfam America," explained Reyes Martinez, the media relations manager. "They give help to these food banks that are running low on food. They give them money to go get canned food. They have programs to help children during the holiday season. It's just an overall good program."
Because this event was organized by a political science class, it focused on ways local governments formulate policies to provide food for those in need.
"What does the city of Santa Monica do to allow for people like you and me to go down to the Palisades Park and distribute food to hungry people, to homeless people? How many food banks do we have in this community?" asked Tahvildaran-Jesswein, voicing a resounding and profound question.
The event featured a guest speaker, D'Artagnan Scorza, director of The Social Justice Learning Institute, an organization that is centered on the question of food, and in particular, community gardens. This has become particularly prevalent at SMC considering the campus garden project has quickly grown from an idea into a reality.
Growing up in poverty in Watts, Inglewood, Scorza has experienced first-hand the hunger he speaks of. Currently attending UCLA, he is also an Iraq-War Veteran.
"I've had experiences that have opened my eyes to the challenges that many people around the world face. Going around town in Baghdad I saw people in need. In my own community there was a lot of need as well," said Scorza.
Scorza also visited a South African village where he was once again face to face with the detrimental effects of poverty and hunger. "What kind of human would I be to turn a blind eye to this poverty?" Scorza asked.
Many who arrived at the event expected free food, however, in accordance with the statistics provided by Oxfam only 15 percent of those who arrived received a complete meal.