Student EVOKE agents lend a hand Lowcountry Food Bank
Last weekend, seven of The Citadel's EVOKE "agents" rolled up their sleeves to help out at the Lowcountry Food Bank.
The Citadel's EVOKE network is comprised of students in the Political Science Department's Non-Western Studies class who are completing a 10-week certificate in global issues from the World Bank Institute, called EVOKE.
The EVOKE course, which is presented in an online, asynchronous "game" format, is designed to engage students from around the world to work together to find creative solutions to real-world global problems, like food security, water security, poverty, education, health care and human rights. The current round includes students from the United States, Brazil, India, Korea and other countries. Each week students undertake a different "mission," in which they "investigate" a specific issue and discuss it with their counterparts—or so-called agents—from other countries. The cadets then prepare blog posts to complete each mission.
"When we came to the 'mission' related to food security, many students were alarmed to find that hunger is a problem right here in the United States," said Assistant Professor Sarah Tenney, faculty advisor to the group. "While studying and discussing global issues is one thing, we wanted to find a way to actually do something meaningful. That is when I met Mary Kate McLernon, the volunteer coordinator for the Lowcountry Food Bank."
As The Citadel group was sorting food at the Lowcountry Food Bank's warehouse on Dec. 1, Cadet Nate Madden, a sophomore from Anderson, S.C., said: "Among the population of volunteers working in various sectors and issue areas, there is an important social network that could be leveraged to build social capital and address common needs."
Mike Lacey, a naval officer candidate from Texas, was less positive. "It is great to see that so many people want to help, but frustrating that we can make only a minimal impact, owing to our lack of training. I would like to find more effective ways to address the issue on a larger scale." Noting, in particular, the amount of waste caused by the transportation process for food, he suggested, "It would be good if we could better us of local producers."
In addition to Tenney, Lacey and Madden, participants were Cadets Nick Juliano, Joseph Clyburn and Cameron Bowman and active duty military student Christopher Fox.
To learn more about hunger in the United States and South Carolina, see the interactive map at: http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-studies/map-the-meal-gap.aspx.