Rebecca Ward, professor of Women and Gender Studies at Shippensburg University, spoke at SU’s annual Day of Human Understanding. The presentations all revolved around a wide range of topics about human issues. It ranged from disabilities to human trafficking.
Ward explained how poverty affects the world we live in today by saying “Poverty Looks Like Me.”
Many do not realize the issues that people in poverty face daily. People take certain aspects of life for granted such as a job or a roof over their heads. Others struggle every day to make ends meet in order to put food on the table.
Ward used an exercise to get students to understand the seriousness of poverty in the community.
In groups, students had to decide what they would personally need to live. To some students, this just meant having a home and food. Other people said they would need a car and cable TV.
After students decided what they personally needed, Ward made students cut things out of their lives one-by-one in order to meet the budget of a person who makes minimum wage.
This included things like money for clothing and entertainment expenses for going to the movies.
In the exercise, each student had to account for themselves and two children of their own. This made the exercise especially difficult.
This helped the students to understand that living in poverty is not as easy as some people believe.
During the presentation, Ward discussed various types of government assistance programs and how they can help people get back on their feet.
There are many misconceptions that these programs are constantly abused and are for people who are too lazy to work.
However, Ward refuted these claims and advocated the use of housing and food stamp programs for people in need. Overall, Ward’s poverty discussion helped students put themselves in someone else’s shoes.
She helped students understand that poverty is a real issue that is closer than students think.