Three Illinois Students and one faculty member recently attended the 2019 Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit in Maine after receiving support from Illinois International. The Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit brings together universities and students across all disciplines to educate them on the causes of hunger, while training them to take action at home and abroad. This year, the summit brought together over 500 students, faculty, and activists for two days of workshops and presentations.
All three of the attending students from Illinois are first-generation college students who are interested in finding sustainable solutions to world hunger. Students Roxanne, Stefania, Stephanie, and Human Development and Family Studies Instructor Jan Brooks were accepted to present a 75-minute session at the summit. Their presentation “Are We Really Helping? Ethical Interactions in Service Projects” focused on the need for agency retention in populations that service providers and organizations intend to assist, in order to positively impact the Sustainable Development Goals from the United Nations. Roxanne was motivated to act on what she gained from participating in the summit, stating that “This conference reminded me of what we can achieve through working together, by becoming educated, participatory advocates.”
When talking about her experience at the summit, Stephanie said, “We need to talk about our experiences, to learn from each other, to collaborate, and to initiate important conversations that will result in effective changes in our attitudes and behavior.” Since attending the summit, the students are doing this by bringing the knowledge they gained back to Illinois. Roxanne and Stefania are starting a new RSO on campus to utilize their research on a backpack meal program, while Stephanie is researching a card swipe program for unused food at university dining halls to be donated to food insecure students at Illinois. All three of the students have also been invited to a committee in ACES International Programs to address food insecurity on a local and global level.
Since participating in the summit, Stefania, Roxanne, and Stephanie are motivated to start making changes now. Stefania wrote to us about how the experience changed how she looked at some of these issues and motivated her to start working on a solution. “On the way back home, I thought about the ways I was going to help around our campus and the community. Everyone at the conference gave me a sense of inspiration to start making progress on projects that are being done now.”
Illinois International provides a variety of funding, grant, and award opportunities that support global engagement activities on campus. Visit our website to learn more.