“Cincinnati Authors” class helps feed the hungry

Dateline: student newspaper

By: Ashley Eilers

File Under: homelessness, hunger, service

It’s no secret that “members of the Mount community embrace service to others,” as stated in the College of Mount St. Joseph’s mission and demonstrated through countless service projects that the Mount community participates in every year. It’s also no surprise, then, that Associate Professor Jeff Hillard’s “Cincinnati Authors” class is incorporating service in a unique way this semester.

Inspiration from Mount Alumni

Hillard’s class heard from two local non-fiction authors on Feb. 14, both of whom are Mount alumni and well acquainted with the world of service. William Lambers is an author, historian and active voice in the fight against world hunger. Sherrie Kleinholz is an author and advocate for the homeless population—her forthcoming book “The World Without Me” compiles stories of the homeless. Their discussions in “Cincinnati Authors” revolved around world hunger and the ways in which busy college students can help—which sparked an idea for Hillard and the 14 students in his class.

FreeRice and Charity Miles

Lambers and Kleinholz talked about two specific programs. FreeRice is a website in which anyone with internet access can play trivia-type games for free—with each correct answer, 10 grains of rice are donated through the World Food Programme to help end world hunger. Charity Miles is another free program in the form of a smart phone app that allows individuals to walk, run or bike to raise money for a number of different charities.

Lambers, Kleinholz and Hillard saw an interest in these informal service options from the “Cincinnati Authors” students, and Hillard proposed that participation in one or both of the programs become an alternative to writing the course’s required final response essay. The students agreed wholeheartedly, and Hillard set forth in formulating a plan.

Hillard’s plan includes student participation in Charity Miles by running, walking, or biking five miles per week for the remaining 10 weeks of the semester and reflecting on the experience and hunger issues through short journals. Hillard is also offering extra credit points for participation in the FreeRice program, an idea initiated by student LeAnne Reinert. Students can receive one extra credit point for every 300 grains of rice donated by playing the online game, earning up to 20 extra points.

Inspiring Others

The service project has just begun, but is already inspiring others in the community to get involved in the FreeRice and Charity Miles programs to fight world hunger. Student Michelle Woods described the project to her mother, a substitute teacher who has taken an interest in getting the students in her school district involved in the projects as well. Woods is also participating in Charity Miles as she trains to run in the Flying Pig Marathon.

Hillard hopes the incentives will encourage his students to get involved and spread awareness about hunger issues all over the world.
“We advocate a lot for service here at the Mount. I wanted to inspire students to get involved,” said Hillard.

For more information or to get involved visit freerice.com or charitymiles.org.