Every semester, the Student Nonprofit Alliance (SNA) hosts a two-week program focused on raising awareness of social issues that exist within and around the Slippery Rock University community. This fall, SNA plans to present IZE on Hunger, a program set on helping students and community members “realize that hunger is not what it seems, empathize with those affected by hunger and mobilize to break the cycle,” according to junior psychology and nonprofit management major and president of SNA Amanda Wemette.
“People don’t realize how close to home this issue is,” Wemette said. “There are still serious hunger issues within Butler county, within the Slippery Rock area and even within the school. SNA is working to change that.”
Wemette said that, in the past, SNA has held panels, information booths, craft-centered events and larger events to help kick off the program and bring the issue into a bigger light. This time around, SNA plans on sticking to that basic procedure, and they are also working with multiple groups on- and off-campus, including Greek Life, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculty (APSCUF) and a number of groups located in Butler.
Specifically, junior professional Spanish major and nonprofit management major and on-campus coordinator of SNA Christina Leonard said SNA will be asking for student volunteers to participate in Cooking Up a Difference, which will be sponsored by APSCUF. Volunteers will cook food to bring to the Warming Shelter in Butler from Thursday, Nov. 10 through Thursday, Nov. 17 to serve to people without homes or food.
Occurring during the same week-long period, SNA will be sponsoring a Food Drive in the residence halls here on campus, Wemette said. All proceeds from this food drive will go to Feed My Sheep Food Cupboard right here in Slippery Rock.
Leonard said IZE on Hunger was planned around Thanksgiving on purpose, and that the IZE program is just one of SNA’s attempts at tackling the issue of hunger.
“Having this program around the same time as Thanksgiving, a holiday about food, will really make a big impact in really raising awareness and provoking thought and discussion about hunger,” Leonard said.
As the on-campus coordinator for SNA, Leonard is in charge of the Hunger Banquet, this semester’s big kick-off event taking place on Monday, Nov. 14. This is the second time SNA has done a program based around hunger and the second time they have held the Hunger Banquet; in the spring semester of 2016, the group hosted IZE in the Kitchen.
The Hunger Banquet is not a typical banquet, Leonard said. Those who purchase tickets and attend will be placed in a social class and given a background of a person within that social class, and they will take on the role of that person throughout the event. Leonard said that, after attending and participating in the Hunger Banquet last semester, it was a really impactful experience.
“A lot of people will be affected, and it will really help students completely understand the point we’re trying to get across,” Leonard said.
Tickets for the Hunger Banquet will be sold in the Smith Student Center on Tuesday, Nov. 8 and Thursday, Nov. 10.