“We provide this opportunity for students to come and experience a month of simulated life playing a role as a family member on a limited income,” Lauren Cochran, Coordinator of the Office of Civic Engagement said. “It’s meant to give students a better understanding of what so many members of our community experience.”
During the exercise, students had to problem-solve real-life issues and work with a limited budget.
“They have to make difficult choices on whether they are going to pay utilities or pay rent or buy food for their family that month,” Cochran explained. “It gives them insight into the challenges that neighbors in our communities experience every day.”
Organizers said the poverty simulation helps students to be aware of the struggles that many people face.
“I wish that every student would do this simulation,” said Tori Elmore, a student who volunteered at the poverty simulation. “I just think it’s a great opportunity for them to open their eyes to see that there are people who this simulation, it’s not just a game, it’s real life for a lot of people. I think it’s really good for them to experience what it’s like to live in poverty.”
According to Statista, “in 2022, about 16.2 percent of Alabama’s population lived below the poverty line. This accounts for persons or families whose collective income in the proceeding 12 months was below the national poverty level of the United States.”
For more information about Alabama poverty, click here.