Milton Partakes in Oxfam Week
by Iladro Sauls on Friday, November 22nd, 2013Beginning on Tuesday the 19th, Milton’s Annual Oxfam Week concludes today at 3 o’clock. The weeklong event aims to raise awareness for the fight against poverty and hunger.
According to its website, Oxfam International provides aid in over 90 countries and works “as a part of a global movement for change to build a future free from the injustice of poverty.” With the held of monetary donations, fundraisers, and volunteers across the world, Oxfam thrives in its efforts to assist the underprivileged.
Originally started by Public Issues board, Oxfam Week has since been taken over by the Community Service Board. The club’s advisor, Ms. Geyling, a member of Milton’s faculty for twenty years, said that “the Hunger Banquet started before I came to Milton.” She feels that the event finds its success in its ability to “make students and adults think about the good things we have and what it might be like not having [them].”
Some students commit to Oxfam Week, pledging to eat only rice from recess to 3:00 on Tuesday through Friday. At Monday morning assembly, Community Service Board members Jade Beguelin (I) and Marina Fleites (II) presented the week’s events and information about world-wide hunger. On the same day, students had the opportunity to sign up for the weeklong pledge during lunch periods, taking a wristband to show their dedication.
Although the Oxfam Week pledge concluded at 3:00 today, some felt that there was simply not enough time before winter sports tryouts, which require student-athletes to compete to the best of their abilities for coveted spots on teams. Varsity Boys Squash captain Cody Cortes (I) worried that consuming this unnutritious diet would negatively impact prospective winter athletes. On the topic of the Hunger Banquet, he said, “I don’t think it’s a healthy option for varsity athletes, but I support participants who really believe in the cause.”
Ms. Geyling emphasizes that the Community Service Board understands if students are not able to participate in the hunger banquet for health-related reasons. However, the Community Service program aims for 100% participation. Ms. Geyling estimates that about one hundred students in the last few years have participated in the weeklong pledge. Even the middle schoolers will participate in this school-wide event, hosting their own Oxfam banquet in Elliot Commons.
On Tuesday, upper school students arrived at Forbes during 4th, 5th, and 6th periods to draw tickets and determine their dietary plan for the lunch period. 55% of students received lower-class tickets, receiving only rice and water. Even utensils were withheld in order to simulate the circumstances of millions of impoverished global citizens. Drawing a middle-class ticket afforded students a meal of rice, beans, water, and a fork, while the few students who drew an upper-class ticket were treated to a typical Milton lunch. After receiving a ticket, students dropped off their tickets in baskets. For each ticket, Flik Dining Services kindly agreed to donate the money saved. In addition, the Milton Academy bookstore donated 10% of its profits from Tuesday to Oxfam.
Through these combined efforts, Ms. Geyling reported that Milton has succeeded in donating over two thousand dollars to Oxfam every year. Community Service co-head Elle Blake (I) insistsedthat students look beyond the simple action of grabbing a ticket and eating rice for the day. She stresses the importance of “taking a step out of our daily schedules to realize that there are more important issues outside of our lives than a test grade.”
Abisayo Animashaun (II), a member of the Community Service board, said that Oxfam Week aims to bring to light the “hardships outside of the bubble we live in” while raising money for a good cause. The collective effort of the student body throughout this week will certainly provide opportunities for the less fortunate.
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