Students experience living under the poverty line

Arber Demiri

Arber Demiri

Sarah Taylor, Staff Reporter

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When analyzing poverty statistics, there is a clear correlation between families living below the poverty line and their lack of education. Poverty affects almost 50 million people in the United States of America; that translates to 1 in 6 Americans.

According to the University of Washington, 967,282, or 14.1 percent, of people are living under the poverty line in Washington State. In Ellensburg, 48.5 percent live below the poverty line according to Poverty USA and are relevant because CWU is hosting a poverty simulation.

The poverty simulation is intended to spread awareness of situations that low-income families face in America. This event hopes to attract leaders and community members in an effort to create a shared understanding of poverty.

“The easiest way to think about poverty is to imagine living day to day paycheck to paycheck deciding whether you want to eat a meal or do something else more important like paying off a bill,” said Angela Quach, CWU Freshman.

The poverty simulation will take place Saturday, Jan. 28 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for students in the SURC Ballroom and for Faculty/Staff 11:30 am through 4 p.m. in SURC room 202.

The event entails a role-play where participants are assigned a fictional family and need to pay bills, get to work, care for children and access services throughout four 15-minute weeks.

Volunteers play the role of various “Resource Stations” such as a grocery store, school, bank, employer or food bank. At the end of the event, there will be time to share how your simulation went, how it made an impression on you, and how it could affect your community.

The event is intended to help participants understand how poverty feels, but some students said they doubt the simulator will accurately emulate the circumstances.

“I do not think [the poverty simulator] will bring people together,” Quach said. “People who are already privileged won’t be able to understand the struggles that others, who are unprivileged, face. It’s hard for someone to get an idea of being poor.”

Another CWU student agreed and said, “It’ll be information [for the privileged] that goes in one ear and out the other.”

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Students experience living under the poverty line