HungerU’s First Week
Sep 30, 2013
-- By Margie Alsbrook, Farm Journal Foundation Director of Operations
This week I had the honor of seeing something amazing happen in upstate New York. Students were flocking around the HungerU exhibit and sincerely interested in learning about hunger issues and agriculture’s capacity to reduce hunger and poverty. In a world where we usually want to focus on what is wrong with a cynical eye, it was almost magical to see people have conversations about tough issues and come away with a new perspective.
Our first stop was at Cornell University, where we launched on Monday Sept. 16
. I had some meetings that morning so I did not arrive until the middle of the day, and when I was walking up the sidewalk to where I thought the exhibit was going to be I momentarily thought I was in the wrong place. Then I realized that there were so many students gathered around the HungerU exhibit, I could not even see HungerU! It was a great moment.
For the next hour or so I stood back and watched our young crew handle the crowd, which was large and steady. They were so impressive and poised, even on the first day. Granted, they had just been in a week of training but it was still pretty great. These young women are truly and earnestly passionate about hunger and agriculture issues, and dove right into conversations with the students.
Two days later we were at sunny Syracuse University
, where the crowd gathered next to the school’s famous Carrier Dome
. Every HungerU stop is different. At Cornell we were on the main sidewalk, which was great for foot traffic but we did not have enough space for the peddle tractors. At Syracuse we were near the quad, which meant the tour had enough space to be able to break out the peddle tractors!
At Syracuse, we also held our first Food Forum, with over 130 students in attendance. The students asked tough questions, which is what we wanted. By the end of the hour many students indicated they were more interested in getting involved with solutions related to food security and better understood the nexus between modern agricultural development and hunger.
We are facing a huge hunger crisis, and we will only solve it if we all rise to the challenge of that crisis collectively. HungerU plays an important role in creating that solution.
It’s going to be a great Fall!