Live Below The Line
On Friday, Nov. 19, Andrews University’s chapter of UNICEF (AU UNICEF) held a club event called “Live Below The Line”. It was in held in Chan Shun Hall from 4 to 6 p.m. According to UNICEF USA, 1.2 billion people live below the extreme poverty line. This means many people face basic living problems, like finding enough food to eat, every day. “Live Below The Line” was not only an experiment to put participants through difficult circumstances, but also to prepare them for life as independent adults.
To start, participants were assigned a social class—either lower, middle or upper class—and each class was given a set amount of fake money. The lower class received $23,000, the middle class got $60,000 and the upper class got $200,000. Afterwards, they were directed to different stations—like home, school, work and transportation. There was also a table to draw cards that gave participants different real-life scenarios. Such scenarios included, “You broke your leg, and you have to pay $5,000 for surgery,” or “You got a raise at work, and now you get $3,000.” These scenarios were inspired by our everyday lives, and were intended to be as realistic as possible to show how people in different classes live life, what they have to pay for and from where they get their money.
At the end of the game, the UNICEF officers had food prepared for participants to buy with the money they had leftover. If they couldn’t afford anything, they got soup. If they had $1-$5,000, they could buy more than just soup. If they had above $5,000, they were able to afford everything.
Noël Harris (senior, community and international development), an AU UNICEF officer, said, “All of the students were nice. The participants who had extra money shared food with the others who had no money. Many people were really struggling. Several students told me, ‘I have no money, what do I supposed to do?’ It was eye-opening to see how difficult it was live in the lower and middle classes.”
AU UNICEF’s Public Relations Officer Kayla Casey (senior, sociology) said, “It's always exciting to see college students passionate about global issues such as poverty. Young adults have so much influence on the pace of progress in the developing world. So, as a club it's encouraging to host events that students want to actively participate in, to make a difference, and share the same drive towards a poverty free world as yourself.”
Carla Delgado (senior, international business), also an officer of AU UNICEF, said, “People appreciated what they experienced in the situations they were given even though they did not know what they were getting into. At the end of the event, they learned how to deal with stress and got to experience what real people might be facing every day in our society.”