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 Seeking ‘opinionated and hungry students’ becomes in those conditions more than a marketing pitch; it becomes an outdated incentive or perquisite unsuited to actual conditions.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.