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Fighting Hunger at Fort Hays State University

By Kelly Nuckolls, FHSU American Democracy Project Student Coordinator

8th Annual Universities Fighting World Hunger Food Summit PhotoFort Hays State University (FHSU) students and faculty recently attended the 8th Annual Universities Fighting World Hunger Food Summit in Overland Park, Kansas.

Held March 2 – 4, 2013, this was the first time the event was hosted by a coalition of institutions. FHSU Provost Larry Gould and Director of the Center for Civic Leadership Curt Brungardt decided early on that the university would support this unique learning and engagement opportunity.

Universities Fighting World Hunger (UFWH) is the catalyst for over 300 chapter colleges and universities who engage in international programming across the globe to make fighting hunger a core value of higher education institutions worldwide. Students, faculty, administrators, political officials, and hunger relief organizations from all over the world came together at the Food Summit to share best practice models; listen to keynote addresses from Ritu Sharma of Women Thrive, Dr. Alastair Summerlee of the University of Guelph, and Max Finberg of the U. S. Department of Agriculture; all with the goal of ending hunger by empowering the younger generation.

FHSU’s American Democracy Project Student Co-Coordinator Kelly Nuckolls had the opportunity to be on the steering committee for this conference. Ten students from FHSU also joined the Food Summit volunteer team with students from Ottawa University and Kansas State University. Three FHSU faculty and 16 students attended the conference, including three graduate students from China. The Chinese students were active and vocal participants and hope to bring hunger awareness speakers to their campuses in China.

Curt Brungardt; faculty member Shala Mills; Anne Drees, also a student co-coordinator of the American Democracy Project; and Nuckolls presented at the summit about this semester’s “From Harvest to the Hungry: Kansans Addressing Hunger.” This program is a three-week series that includes presentations, service events, film screenings, and public forums to engage the public around the issue of local, national, and global hunger. FHSU partnered with the Kansas Humanities Council and the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum to make these possible. Following the formal presentation, conference participants were given the opportunity to participate in a forum inspired by the National Issues Forum’s publication—The Rising Cost of Food. The town hall was moderated by four FHSU students.

The fact that food insecurity exists right here in America—the wealthiest country on the planet—was a central theme at this conference, and as the three-day event came to an end, attendees were called to action. Students were reminded of the importance of everyday acts of citizenship that can make an impact in the world, and Nuckolls demonstrated to the conference how simple political action can be, even for a student, by making a call over speaker phone to her Representative, Congressman Kevin Yoder {R-KS} (watch it now by clicking here). She wanted her fellow conference attendees to witness how simple it is to engage in efforts that will put an end to starvation and hunger across the globe.

If you are curious about this unique learning experience and the opportunity to become a global leader in the fight against hunger, as well as the efforts made toward that end at the 2013 UWFH Food Summit, check out the re-cap video made by FHSU student Becca Kohl by clicking here.

For more information on Universities Fighting World Hunger visit: www.universitiesfightingworlhunger.org.

Kelly is a Student Coordinator for both the American Democracy Project and the Global Leadership Project. She works with organizing and developing curricular and co-curricular programming to engage the FHSU community in projects and activities that educate about and cause a direct impact on local, national, and global issues. Kelly is a senior majoring in Political Science, with a minor in Spanish, and a certificate in Global Leadership.

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