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A spirit that is not afraid

Students Stomp Out Hunger

Students battled sore feet and unexcused absences to raise awareness about world hunger and participate in the Committee of 19's second Hunger March. The collection of approximately 100 marchers gathered 8 a.m. Saturday to prepare for the 60-mile trek to Montgomery. The march took three days to complete. "You can make a statement through your money, but you can really make a statement through your time," said Clark Solomon, senior in political science and president-elect of the Committee of 19.

Participants were urged to begin to prepare themselves for the walk well in advance. Physical training sessions were held in the weeks leading up to the event in order to help marchers evaluate their fitness levels and plan accordingly. Marchers were also encouraged to collect donations from family and friends to help support the War on Hunger. The Hunger March is not a University-excused absence, though students were provided with a letter encouraging professors to consider excusing their absence.

The trekkers were housed Saturday and Sunday night by churches along the route and finally reached the Capitol noon Monday. The students then engaged in a political rally held outside the Capitol in an effort to recruit more hunger-fighters as well as raise money. "The goal is to raise awareness about domestic and global hunger and to create the political will to end it," said Harriet Giles, lead adviser for the Committee of 19. "They went home either with friends, parents, or a van. We tried to accommodate all marchers with a ride home."

The event was inspired by the knowledge that citizens in developing countries must often walk long distances on foot in order to obtain basic necessities, such as food and water, according to the committee's Web site. The Committee of 19 is a student organization devoted to battling world hunger. Its name was derived from the original cost of feeding schoolchildren in developing countries: 19 cents. (This amount has since increased to 25 cents.) The committee focuses on raising awareness about hunger through events such as the Hunger March and the University Hunger Summit, which was held in February. It is also involved in local projects, such as volunteering at food pantries and collecting for the food bank. Solomon addressed the group shortly before departure and urged participants to remember the reason behind the march and told those assembled to remember to encourage one another throughout the journey.

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