Ashland University Partners with Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks to Hold Poverty Simulation
The Center for Community Service at Ashland University is sponsoring a poverty simulation with the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks (http://www.oashf.org/) on Nov. 18 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The simulation will be held in Redwood Hall on the Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) campus.
“The poverty simulation is an interactive and role-playing activity designed to show participants the realities and ambiguities of living in poverty and to dispel the myths and stereotypes often associated with it,” said Erica Phillips, coordinator of the Ohio Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA Program for Ashland University’s Center for Community Service. (http://www.ashland.edu/campus-life/community-service)
Phillips said participants will be given a sheet of paper describing their situation, family, job status, and resources and will have to find a way to make it through the week, including handling items such as paying medical bills, paying for food, transportation and rent.
“The simulation consists of four of these weeks, played out over the course of 15 minutes each,” Phillips explained. “Participants will travel to various tables representing different service agencies and companies, from Job and Family Services to the grocer and pharmacist.”
This segment will be followed by a facilitator-led reflection on the event.
“While we could never replicate the feeling of poverty and certainly wouldn’t want to say that we truly understand all of the difficulties of individuals in poverty, it is crucial that our students understand the process involved and the reality for many individuals,” said Rebecca Schaaf, director of the Center for Community Service at Ashland University. “Students can get a glimpse of the ‘survival mode’ that many people must enter into and also learn more about the various services available to help individuals meet their basic needs. It’s a lesson in breaking down barriers and an excellent way to become more invested in the surrounding community.”
While this is the first time the Ashland campus will be presenting this particular event, Schaaf noted the campus has sponsored a number of hunger or poverty-related events such as Empty Bowls, CROP Walk, Hunger Banquet and the 30 Hour Famine. “Our students have been very supportive. They truly want to help in any way they can and really are willing to put themselves in new and possibly uncomfortable situations to gain a new perspective,” she said.
Ashland University is a mid-sized, private institution conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.