PSU Students Raise Awareness of Hunger and Homelessness

November 9th, 2006 by Adam

Students at Plymouth State University will explore the affects of hunger and homelessness during a week of events on and off campus Nov. 12-17. Jaclyn Johnson, a junior meteorology major from Truro, Mass., is the student coordinator.

Throughout the week, the PSU baseball team will partner with Hannaford of Plymouth in sponsoring a food drive. Receptacles will be placed at the Hannaford Store in Hatch Plaza and on and off campus so that students and community members may contribute nonperishable food items, which will be collected by Panther baseball players and contributed to the Plymouth Food Bank.

The team will also solicit food contributions in student neighborhoods during the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 14. Donors may also drop off contributions on the first floor of the Hartman Union Building, across from the information desk.

Toiletry items will be collected by campus ministry during the week, for donation to Bridge House and the Voices Against Violence safe house.

PSU organizations such as the Nicaragua Club, City Reach, PSU Volunteers, the PSU Environmental Committee and the International Service Trip will have tables in the HUB each day to provide information and talk with students who are seeking information and opportunities to volunteer.

The week kicks off with a Crop Walk from 1–3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12, leaving from the Plymouth Congregational Church on Main Street. Crop Walks help feed local families by raising funds through pledges for local hunger-fighting initiatives such as food pantries and soup kitchens in towns and cities across the nation. Contact: Preston Fuller, 535-2327.

“Poverty: How Close Are You?” will be discussed in forum format Monday, Nov. 13 beginning at 7 p.m. in the Hartman Union Fireplace Lounge. Representatives from campus and community organizations will be on hand to discuss the various life events that can lead to poverty. Amber Rethwisch, PSU VISTA Volunteer, will moderate the forum, which is sponsored by the PSU Social Work Club.

An Empty Bowls supper will be held from 5:30–7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14 at Plymouth Congregational Church. For a minimum donation of $5, guests will be served a simple meal of soup and bread contributed by local vendors including the Italian Farmhouse, Hong Kong Garden, The Peppercorn, Holderness General Store and Sodexho. Participants are invited to keep the hand-made bowl (while the supply lasts) as a reminder that there are always empty food bowls in the world.

Bowls are being contributed by a number of area potters and a PSU art class. Debbie Little of Ecclesia Ministries in Boston will be a special guest.Contact: Nancy Conklin, 535-3026 or Jackie Johnson, 535-5934.

Wednesday, Nov. 15 the Sidore Lecture Series will present Chuck Collins of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. speaking on Economic Inequality as a Threat to Democracy, at 7 p.m. in Smith Recital Hall at the Silver Center.

Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies (Washington, D.C.) and directs the Institute’s Program on Inequality and the Common Good. He is an expert on inequality in the U.S. and author of several books, including Economic Apartheid in America: A Primer on Economic Inequality and Insecurity. He co-authored with Bill Gates Sr., Wealth and Our Commonwealth, a case for taxing inherited fortunes. Contact: Bill Kietzman, (603) 535-2638. Free, but advance reservations recommended at Silver Center Box Office, (603) 535-ARTS.

To simulate what it might be like to be a person who is homeless, students will build an encampment of tarps and cardboard boxes on campus Thursday night, Nov. 16 and camp outside from approximately 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., forgoing hot meals and other comforts. The annual sleep out is sponsored by the campus residence hall assistant directors. Contact Andrew McLean (603) 535-5682.

The final major event in the week is Friday, November 17, when there will be an Action Fair at the Hartman Union Building on High Street from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. There will be information for students who are left wondering “what can I do?” after an intensive week of events. Representatives from the American Friends Service Committee, the New Hampshire Food Bank and the local Community Closet will have tables.

During the fair, a team from the Oreo Mobile will be on hand for a live demonstration during which Oreo cookies are stacked to resemble bar graphs, showing federal tax dollars spent on various programs.

A Pie Mobile, a Honda Element with a 10-foot budget pie chart on each side will be parked adjacent to the Hartman Union Building, and a table at the Fair will provide additional information.

The Oreo Mobile, designed by Ben Cohen of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, shows where your tax dollars go in a quick, fun, eye-opening free presentation to demonstrate how much of our federal taxes go to the Pentagon, education, healthcare, etc. and how the American people want our federal taxes spent.

At 2 p.m. Friday the fair will conclude with a weigh-in of all the food and toiletries donated throughout the week. The food will be delivered by the baseball team to the local food pantry and the toiletries will be distributed to local shelters early the following week.

For information about Hunger and Homelessness Events, call Nancy Conklin, (
603) 535-3026.

Plymouth State University (PSU) is a regional comprehensive university offering a rich, student-focused learning environment for both undergraduate and graduate students. PSU offers 42 majors and 62 minors in programs that include education, business, humanities, arts, and natural and social sciences. The College of Graduate Studies offers coursework that promotes research, best practices and reflection in locations on- and off-campus as well as online. For non-traditional students, PSU’s Frost School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers working professionals opportunities to pursue an undergraduate degree by attending classes in the evenings, weekends and online. Located in a beautiful New England setting, Plymouth State University has been recognized as one of the “Best in the Northeast” by The Princeton Review.