Ministry challenges students

How much does it cost for you to eat for one day? Chances are it costs you more than $1.50, but for 1.4 billion people in the world, that is all they have to spend for meals daily.

On Monday, April 23, in the Laker Inn, Mercyhurst University students were offered an opportunity to try a meal for $1.50 and make it last all day.

The event, the Campus Fasting Challenge, was organized by the Assistant Director of Campus Ministry Christine Brotherson with help from Robert Scott, the director of food service, and Eileen Zinchiak of the Mercyhurst Institute for Public Health.

The event was intended as a way to start Earth Week, which began on Earth Day on Sunday, April 22, and continues until Sunday, April 29.

The challenge is an attempt to get people to think about over-consumption.

“In countries where there is extreme poverty, they eat to stay alive. It’s an entirely different way of life,” Brotherson said.

All week, 12 pictures will hang up on campus, with six in the Hammermill Library and six in Campus Ministry. The pictures show families from countries throughout the world with all of the food they regularly eat in a week.

The American family is shown with bags of chips, cans of soup and boxes of pizza covering the cupboards, while in opposition, the Nicaraguan family is shown with a few assorted fruits and vegetables and a bag full of grain.

Brotherson hopes that making the fasting challenge part of Earth Week will make people think about how their food choices affect others as well as the environment.

“We need to expand our vision of what this is about to see the impact we have environment and how that environment effects others, like the impoverished who rely mostly on the on-the-ground natural resources for their food supplies and their living conditions,” Brotherson said.

As part of the Fasting Challenge, Campus Ministry is asking students to sign The St. Francis Pledge. The pledge is a Catholic pledge to be more environmentally aware and less wasteful.

“You don’t have to be Catholic to sign this,” said Brotherson, “We are saying that we are willing to change our behaviors.”

Students participated in the Campus Fasting Challenge on Monday, April 23, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., but if you missed that, you can still sign the St. Francis pledge by going to Catholic Climate Covenant.