On a Campus with Genuine Hunger, ‘Hungry’ Shouldn’t be a Marketing Tool

One reads in an announcement from Assistant Vice Chancellor Sara Kuhl (that’s her title, truly) that a marketing firm is looking for students’ opinions, and will provide a free lunch or dinner. They’ve got quite the hook:

Wanted: Opinionated and hungry students

In a place of genuine hunger, with students using an on-campus food pantry, feeding a focus group takes on a meaning far beyond mere marketing. Seeking ‘opinionated and hungry students’ becomes in those conditions more than a marketing pitch; it becomes an outdated incentive or perquisite unsuited to actual conditions. Indeed, both local and national stories make this plan. See Hunger, homelessness a student concern and Millions of College Students Are Going Hungry.

A better notice would have simply stated that lunch or dinner would be provided, thereby offering food without identifying hunger expressly (so that those who are hungry would not become a mere word in the subject line).

A marketing firm’s transitory incentives do not address an ongoing problem; they wrongly cast that problem as trivial.

Either this notice was published without any review – or it was published without thoughtful review – of actual conditions on campus and in this city.

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5 years ago

Focusing primarily on the problem and not on marketing everything like a product would be a rejection of the System’s governing political outlook.

It would mean putting first things first.

Imagine that!