The UR Fair Trade Campaign hosted a Hunger Banquet in The Meliora on Wednesday to raise awareness about the nature of hunger, poverty and persistent inequality.

Each person who attended received a serving of food that reflected a different economic class that they were randomly given when they arrived.

People with the low-income scenario were served rice and water, those with the middle-income scenario ate rice and beans and those who were give a high-income role were served a full three-course meal.

The Fair Trade Campaign is a joint effort with other groups, such as Students for Social Justice and Grassroots, to improve the standard of living for underdeveloped countries.

Those who coordinated the event were thrilled with the turnout, and many in attendance recognized the success.

“The diversity of the group that was here is good because the message will spread,” Admissions Counselor Joe Lanning said.

Lanning spoke about the condition in third-world countries, noting that 60 percent of the world is low-income. Also, every 2.9 seconds a child dies.

“Then he timed it,” junior Elise Peterson said. “To think that someone out there just died is so disturbing.”

The goal of the banquet was to make people in American society aware of hunger issues from community, national and global perspectives.

“It definitely puts things in perspective,” senior Neiha Dhar said. “It shows how much of a difference there is between things in America and the rest of the world. I have so much here, but I’m from Kashmir and if I stayed there, my life would be more like one of the situations we saw tonight.”

The event was cosponsored by Amnesty International, Sigma Beta Rho Fraternity, Inc., the Office of Admissions and the International Living Center.

“I’ve been to one hunger banquet before and it totally changed my world view,” sophomore Abby Conrad said. “It’s scary how real it is, and it doesn’t even scratch the surface.”

Additional reporting by Jason Freidman.Paret can be reached at

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