Month: March 2019


Educational Program of the Month
Food For Thought

School: The University of Texas at Dallas Region: SWACURH
Person in charge: Jamie Ku Nominator: Siobhan Carmody

Target Population: Time Needed to Organize:
Number of People in Attendance: Date(s) of Program:
Number of People Needed to Organize: Cost of Program:
On-Campus Population: 5500 Chapter Size: 20

Origin of Program:

Spring Break just finished and students are back on campus. As always they are stressed. Maybe their Spring Break was not nearly as productive as they thought it would be. Maybe their classes are picking up right before finals hit. Maybe they have a project due that they have not even started yet. Sometimes though, the best way to de-stress is to take a step back and help others.

According to the Dallas News in 2018, there were over 4,000 homeless people in Dallas. As one drives throughout the area, especially downtown, it is nearly impossible to not see someone who is homeless. They could be sleeping on benches and sidewalks, holding signs near traffic lights, collecting cans and bottles for cash. Unfortunately, this group of people has a strong tendency to be marginalized by our society and treated as the ‘other.’ To combat this way of thinking, the program Food For Thought was put into motion. This program challenged residents to look beyond their own needs and reach out to their nearby community.

Word Count: 175

Please give a short description of the program:

Food For Thought was a pop-up event, meaning that it was just a table and tent in the middle of a high traffic area. The area we chose was specific to the residential area on-campus and the time we hosted it was in the morning when many students have classes. We wanted them to start their day with on the go snacks to help them stay energized and filled throughout the day as well as be informed about the homeless population in the DFW area. In other words, we used this opportunity to educate our residents on the homelessness and food insecurities that are happening around us. This was successfully executed by having an infographic about homelessness in the DFW area attached to prepackaged snacks. The infographic displayed homelessness statistics and where to learn more. In short, residents who came out to our event were able to take some food in addition to being informed, hence the name Food For Thought. At the end of the day, this event encouraged both the Peer Advisors and residents to initiate a dialogue about the events that are happening in our city and how we can all be more involved.

Word Count: 198

Goals of the program:

Food For Thought was created to raise awareness for homelessness in the Dallas area. The packaged food that was displayed on the tables all had a small infographic attached to them. The infographic included statics about the homeless population in the Dallas area and where to find more facts on the subject. Those working the program answered questions that residents had regarding homelessness as well as how to help out, whether it was connecting them to a specific their time or donating items.

The underlying goal of the program was to make residents reflect on their own prejudices when it comes to those who are homeless. More often than not, people will look away from the homeless. This could be because they feel uncomfortable or they do not have anything on them to give or something else. Whatever the reasoning, homeless people are ignored day in and day out by society. More specifically, we wanted residents to take a step back and think about what their implicit biases towards the homeless might be or at the very least, try to see how they can help a group of people who need an extra hand.

Word Count: 195

Positive and lasting effects of the program:

Our goal was to encourage students to take action in their community. Homelessness and hunger in Dallas/ Fort Worth are very all around us. There are more than one million individuals who are affected by food insecurities across the thirteen counties in North Texas. Students were coming up to our table asking us questions about the small fliers that were on the snacks. From there, we were able to spark a conversation about our purpose for being there that morning. We had a few residents who wanted to know how to get more involved and where to start. This was a great way for students to gauge the interest of our students, and direct them to the volunteer organizations that need our support.

Word Count: 124

Short evaluation of the program:

This program was a success. We had more than 70 residents show up, not only from Phase 8 but also from the Residence Halls as well. Placing this pop-up program in a high traffic location outside was helpful because it gave us a chance to reach all residents. This includes those who may be more introverted, as well as those, do not come out to socials often. By doing this, we caught them on their way to class giving us an opportunity to chat with them about something meaningful while also providing a quick snack in return. More importantly, this program was helpful towards the community because we provided infographics that residents could hang on their fridge, read on their way to class, and/or educate others on. By achieving all of this, we believe we have hit all the major selling points of a successful program.

Word Count: 146

How could this program be adapted to other campuses?

Since the overall theme of homeless awareness can be applicable to any area, statistics of homelessness can be adapted to fit the figures near that specific university. So it is not monotonous with general stats, but rather personalized for that region bringing uniqueness to this program. Additionally, if other campuses have resources for students facing or potentially facing homelessness, then that information could be incorporated in the infographic. Because this program requires a visual form of information, it can also be presented in different ways, such as information to help raise awareness on a button or sticker. Overall, this program can be adapted to all campuses because the means in which we can spread the information is simple yet effective.

Word Count: 121

Date of entry into database: 2019-04-03 00:03:58

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