Students undergo poverty simulation



The Service and Leadership Council hosted the first event of their three-part Give, Serve, Lead series on Monday in the Maucker Union Ballroom.

ALLYN OXLEY, Staff Writer

On Monday, February 6, students gathered in the Maucker Union Ballroom to participate in the first night of the Give, Serve, Lead Conference.

Sammi Bennett, leadership executive of Service and Leadership Council (SLC) organized the conference with the rest of the council to ensure that students receive the best experience in learning how to become a better citizen and leader in the Cedar Valley community and beyond.

The first night of the conference, the “Give” night, put students through a poverty simulation in order to experience the different trials and struggles one faces in poverty.

According to Bennett, the simulation was organized as a game where students were provided with a card indicating their identity (their finance, health, living situation, etc.).

Throughout the simulation, students faced different circumstances that would require them to place themselves into the reality of poverty to make crucial decisions in order to stay afloat. All the while, students quickly became aware of just how tedious and stressful this game can be.

The game was organized into three 10 minute sessions where students were placed into the role of a person living in poverty.

“It’s kind of to show people what the decisions you have to make underneath stress of poverty because you obviously can’t make every decision you want to do,” Bennett said. “And then stuff is going to get thrown at you that you have no control over that you sort of have to roll with.”

To imitate the unexpected, fleeting aspects of life in this game, Bennett explained that throughout the simulation, there would be “flash announcements,” in which students would be given a situation where they would have to change plans and quickly react with a solution to the situation with the limited resources they were given.

“For us, it’s really important because the purpose of this Give night is supposed to be reasons for why people should give back – why people should volunteer,” Bennett said. “We want to show a lot because a lot of students here don’t necessarily really know what living in poverty even looks like – what people that live in poverty go through […] We want to show a little glimpse into everyone’s […] lives, so people can understand it better and understand why giving back and volunteering is so important in the U.S. and to give back to these people who are in need of help.”

Addy Foertsch, sophomore history major, was in attendance on Monday night. Foertsch said she was attending after a recommendation from her Cornerstone peer mentor.

“[I was] looking to get more involved on campus,” Foertsch said. “So this sounded like a great way to step into it.”

For other students like Foertsch who may be looking to get more involved on campus, the Give, Serve, Lead Conference will continue on Feb. 13 and 20. The “Serve” night will be held on Feb. 13 and will be set up for students wanting to help complete service projects for different groups in the Cedar Valley community.

According to Bennett, students will be able to choose a project and come and go as they please.

“We’re going to do tie blankets and dog toys for the homeless shelter and the humane society,” Bennett said. “We’re going to do game kits to give to the boys and girls club and personal care kits.”

The last night of the conference, the “Lead” night, will provide students with different ways to approach leadership and shared personal experiences from UNI faculty members. The students in attendance will be able to ask questions of these faculty members and gain a better understanding of what it means to be a leader.

Staci Schmeling, senior mathematics teaching major, was in attendance on Monday night. Schmeling signed up for all three events in the conference and is especially looking forward to the Lead night.

“I signed up for the other sessions too because the last one is education, and I’m an education major,” Schmeling said. “So I thought it would be good to get insight from teachers.”