Students and faculty from more than 50 colleges, universities, and hunger groups from across the United States and seven countries attended the 8th Annual Universities Fighting World Hunger Food Summit in Overland Park, Kansas, March 2nd-4th. This was the first time the event was hosted by a coalition of institutions. Under the leadership of Kansas Campus Compact, the Kansas Board of Regents, and the Kansas Independent College Association, the entire sector of higher education in Kansas came together to plan the Summit, with the goal of “Raising the Volume.”
The volume was raised throughout the weekend as students, faculty, administrators, political officials, and hunger relief organizations from all over the world came together at the Food Summit to share best practice models; listen to keynote addresses from Ritu Sharma of Women Thrive, Dr. Alastair Summerlee of the University of Guelph, and Max Finberg of the U. S. Department of Agriculture; all with the goal of ending hunger by empowering the younger generation.
I am proud as a Kansas college student to have been a part of the collaborative efforts to raise the volume all weekend long. The conference motivated and inspired us to make our noise heard –college students will eliminate hunger in our lifetime. Mike Giancola of North Carolina State University stated at the final closing session that he hoped in twenty years we would no longer be meeting at a Hunger Summit. The work being done at higher education institutions worldwide reassures that this will happen. Students, faculty, and administrators are continuing to increase campus efforts to address hunger in new and innovative ways that provide students with the opportunities and resources to fix this global problem.
As the three-day event came to an end, attendees were called to action. Students were reminded of the importance of everyday acts of citizenship that can make an impact in the world. I had the opportunity to demonstrate to the conference how simple political action can be, even for a student, by making a call over speaker phone to Congressman Kevin Yoder (R-KS) (watch it now by clicking here). The goal was to show conference attendees how simple it is to engage in efforts that will put an end to starvation and hunger across the globe.
Conference attendees responded to the call to action. The day after the conference, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), proposed a 36 billion dollar cut to SNAP (food stamps). The volume of the Food Summit was heard in Washington D.C.—approximately 130 attendees made the call to Senator Roberts office to be a voice for the hungry.
Answer the call by learning more about this unique learning experience and the opportunity to become a global leader in the fight against hunger, as well as the efforts made toward ending hunger at the 2013 UWFH Food Summit. I encourage viewing the conference material on the 8th Annual Food Summit website. Check out the re-cap video made by Fort Hays State University student Becca Kohl by clicking here. Now is the time to raise the volume in every corner of the earth to making ending hunger a priority.
Universities Fighting World Hunger (UFWH) is the catalyst for over 300 chapter colleges and universities who engage in international programming across the globe to make fighting hunger a core value of higher education institutions worldwide.
Kelly Nuckolls is a student at Fort Hays State University and member of the UFWH planning committee.