Hungry Lobo: A Communications class puts together hunger awareness event
Ever wonder how different campuses deal with hunger issues? Can you find classes on hunger in the sociology or the anthropology or the biology or political science or communications/journalism departments? The answer at the University of New Mexico will soon be all of the above. The UNM Research Service Learning Program has recruited professors from many disciplines to work with this issue while providing students practical ways to use what they have learned in the community. The program is set to officially begin in the spring.
One communications/journalism instructor, Bhavana Upadhyaya, has already started the wheels in motion through her Communications for Peace class. In the class, her students have put together a Hunger in New Mexico awareness event for Wednesday, October 24, which coincides with United Nations Day. The students are learning not only about putting together a program, but also finding ways to promote the event via various media. Basic website design is one of the skils the students are learning. Check out the website they created.
I attended one of their planning sessions, where they talked about using the campus media (primarily the Daily Lobo newspaper) to promote the event via letters to the editor and Op-Ed pieces. There was also discussion about using MySpace and Facebook to reach the UNM community.
A flyer promoting the event urges students to take the following action:
Skip breakfast that day and see what it's like to be hungry for a few hours.
As part of the project, the students are conducting research about hunger in New Mexico and on campus and will present the results at the Oct. 24 event. They will distribute booklets and other relevant information related to a variety of topics, such as the effect of hunger on women.
The class is also involved in activities that go beyond the program in October. One project involves the development of a community garden on campus. In addition, the class has linked with the student chapter of the New Mexico Public Research Interest Group (NMPIRG) and the Food Stamp Community Participation Project to offer food-stamp application assistance on campus.
Prof. Upadhyaya says she hopes her class this fall will help lay the groundwork for all the other hunger-related classes that will be starting in the spring as part of the Research Service Learning Program.
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