Hundreds of college students flocked to the University this weekend to debate and organize solutions to eliminate poverty at their respective schools. The culmination of the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness' conference was the closing ceremonies, in which U.S. Representative Tony Hall (D-Ohio) called upon students to implement effective solutions to the crisis yesterday. The conference, which brought together over 400 student representatives from over a hundred organizations and universities, included workshops and discussion panels as well as speakers by prominent activists such as Marion Wright Edelman -- founder of the Children's Defense Fund. The conference culminated a year-long effort by students, NASCHH staff, and the administration to gain recognition for the University's record of outstanding community volunteerism, according to the conference's assistant director, Claudia Horwitz. During his half-hour speech to over 200 students and faculty, Hall -- a member of the House Select Committee on Hunger as well as the powerful House Rules Committee -- placed the responsiblity of dealing with the international hunger crisis on all Americans. Hall, an advocate for increased international hunger relief for the past decade, recalled his experiences in Ethiopia. In a vivid description, he recounted seeing five Ethiopian children die within a day and said that he was "permanently scarred" from the incident. Comparing the eradication of hunger to a bonfire, the twelve year representative told the audience of activists that they must combine and coordinate efforts to succeed. "When we start taking the sticks away from the fire, they provide no more warmth," Hall added. The closing ceremonies also featured a speech by Professor of History and Urban Studies Ira Harkavy, who warned that "student conferences tend to result in a brief effervesence. . . of activity and then a return to business as usual." "Business as usual at this time in American history is not acceptable," he added. According to Harkavy, a University graduate, in order to survive in the rapidly changing society, universities must provide a network of community volunteers. "We must strive to eliminate to cause of suffering" added the professor. Assistant Director Horwitz, also a University graduate, said that the success of the conference was due mainly to the enthusiasm of the student participants. Horwitz also praised the administration saying that the "conference could not have been as successful without the support of the adminstration." Student participants in the conference said the speakers and workshops clearly defined some issues and gave them a basis for further programs at their own schools. Jamie Daves, a freshman from the College of William and Mary, said the conference "stressed the need for volunteerism and social advocacy." "The conference gave me insight into the issues," she said. Horwitz said she hopes that although the conference is over, University students will still pursue their volunteer projects.Comments powered by Disqus
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