Students paid to eat like most of the world at the hunger banquet., with the majority of the students eating beans and rice. Andrew Peterson/UVU Review

Over 150 people from the campus and community attended the Service Learning Council’s Hunger Banquet on Thursday, Feb.17. The event, which brings awareness to poverty issues, was part of the council’s activities for Social Justice Week on campus.

Those who attended were given one of three colored tickets upon entering. Each color represented a different social class. The classes were upper class, middle class and lower class. Each ticket also contained a fictional bio for that ticket holder.

Those in the upper income bracket, making up 15 percent of participants, were served dinner seated at a table with linens and servers. The meal consisted of lime chicken, roasted vegetables, rice pilaf, salad and sherbet for dessert.

One upper class bio read that the individual sold postcards on the street in Jerusalem from 9 a.m. to midnight every day.

“We were excited to get upper class and then we read the card,” said student Laura Graham. “Then we felt guilty that this is considered upper class outside of our country.”

The middle class ticket holders, making up 35 percent of participants, received a meal of pizza and soda to eat while seated on chairs in the ballroom. One middle-income person’s bio said that he owned a sugar plantation in the Dominican Republic, but they were fortunate to have hired hands.

“I think it is a really creative way to help us see what is going on in the world,” said student Megan Rowley.

Apartheid laws had forced another student, a farmer in South Africa, from his land, but through government projects, he was able to reclaim the land.

“It is eye-opening to see how many people in life aren’t guaranteed a meal every day,” said student Nathan Northcott. “A couple slices of pizza and soda is everyday life for me.”

The low-income ticket holders made up the remaining 50 percent of participants. This group was seated on a floor covered with newspapers and served rice, beans, tortillas and water.

“I didn’t realize how many people were going hungry,” said student Kathy Ivie. “Little kids are going to bed hungry and it breaks my heart.”

Students interested in serving on campus or in the community can contact the Service Learning department in LC 205.