HRL Director works to prevent hunger in East African refugee camps

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By: Jasmine Bowie

“My ideal situation is that more people become aware of the East African hunger crisis.”

Jeffery Long, residence hall director of Bates Runner and Mclean Halls, is leading a week-long awareness event on campus to bring attention to the East African hunger crisis. He is currently receiving his ABD at the University of Tennessee in Political Science; Long’s dissertation is titled “Politics of Famine Relief in Africa.” He has a keen interest African politics and finds the fact that Somalia’s hunger crisis has yet to make national news disheartening.

Taking action, Long, under the sponsorship of Housing and Residence Life and the support of the students and his staff, decided to create the three-day event, Dining with Dadaab, named after a Somali refugee camp.  The event will imitate the distribution of meals that refugees receive at Dadaab.  November 14th through the 16th, students that participate will receive cooked rice three times a day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  “The idea is to present this as a challenge the question students will have to ask themselves is can they do this? Even if participants cannot maintain this diet for the entire week, the purpose is that they become aware of the challenges refugees face in these camps and that they understand how little refugees have.”

In addition to Dining with Dadaab, Long will also be selling silicon bracelets with proceeds going to the active humanitarian organization Action Against Hunger.  Long hopes that after Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, participants will further educate themselves on the issue and take more action in creating efforts to combat the crisis that plagues refugee camps.  Students are turning awareness into action already through a letter writing campaign to Senators Paul and McConnell about the East African hunger crisis. This event is held in conjunction with Dining with Dadaab.  Long will continue to do everything he can to contribute to the fight against world hunger– whether through other organizations or by planning individual events.  Long said, “Information often-times can be a burden, because you feel like you cannot do

anything about it so this is my part to help, and I hope it will make a little bit of a difference.”

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