by: Emily Jackson
photo by: Emily Jackson
Civic Scholars put on their own “SOUPer Bowl” this year to raise awareness of hunger and poverty in Pike County.
While millions of Americans sat around watching the Super bowl on Sunday, Feb. 3, 43 students of Troy University watched the game on the TVs in upstairs Saga: for a cause.
“So that means that four out of every 10 children don’t know where their next meal is going to come from,” said Cesar Jauregui during a commercial break.
Jauregui, a sophomore broadcast journalism major from Pell City, was one of the three civic scholars responsible with spearheading the event.
“If I could get you to understand anything it’s that this really is a problem,” Jauregui said. “It really is something serious and that’s why we are here trying to build awareness for it.”
On the wrap-around serving counter sat 90 cans.
These cans were used as an entrance fee for the event and would then be donated to the local Salvation Army food bank.
For each can that was donated, students received one ticket that went toward a drawing for a Nook tablet donated by Barnes&Noble as well as other donated prizes.
Timothy White, a freshman exercise science major from Madison was the winner of the tablet.
“I was stoked to win it,” White said.
“And even more stoked to use it as a platform to advocate about the crisis facing the Troy area; 30 percent of people in Pike County do not know where their next meal will come from. I hope to change that.”
Not only did students raise canned foods for the community, they also received soup, chips and salsa courtesy of Sodexo at the event.
Many of the participants in the SOUPer Bowl event had different views on local poverty and how they could be part of the solution.
“Not all Americans are very aware of how food is important and how precious it is,” said Bui Hoang Yen a sophomore accounting major from Hanoi, Vietnam.
“I’ve see people throw away a lot of food and it surprises me that there are still many people who are hungry here. This has been a good event to make people realize how we should save food and not waste it because there are many other people who are hungry.”
The idea of a SOUPer Bowl event actually came from civic scholar Amanda Langley a freshman broadcast journalism major from Kennesaw, Ga.
Langley’s high school held a similar event and she said it would be a great way to bring college students together for a cause.
She said that too often college students do not get involved because they feel that they are in a “temporary home.”
“But, as a college student, you are going to be living here for so many years that it is important to give back,” Langley said.
“You are making a difference while you are here and for the future students that do come here and live in Troy.”
Thuy Nguyen, a freshman broadcast journalism major from Hanoi, was another one of the civic scholar students that lead the event.
She said Pike County’s hunger came to her as a “surprise.”
“I come from a country where people are really poor,” Nguyen said.
“And they need food but I don’t believe, I don’t think that in U.S. a lot of people also have the same problem. It was when I became a civic scholar that I got informed about the hunger situation in Pike County. I realized that I wanted to do something to help.”
Nguyen said that this event was her fist chance to join in and help with the issue.
“I applaud Cesar, Amanda and Thuy for their successful event,” said Jonathan Cellon coordinator of service learning & civic engagement at Troy University.
“We look forward to potentially holding the SOUPer Bowl again next year.”
At the end of the event, Cellon encouraged students to keep up to date on all of the upcoming civic scholar events through social media and to get involved.
“We have several other students who are working on it (the issue of poverty) through the civic scholars program,” Cellon said. “And I’d just encourage you to pay attention to Twitter or Facebook, like our pages and grab our info before you leave. You can get involved in the service projects as well as the other awareness initiatives that are going on on-campus relative to this cause.”
For more information on upcoming civic scholar events you can visit the civic scholars Facebook page at: Office of Service Learning & Civic Engagement | Troy University. And follow them on twitter at @Troy_Service.