NMU’s Poverty Simulator finishes up for the year, issues arise

Organizers seek additional classes to join next years simulations, point to issues finding space for the event.
COUNTING CASH - Two student volunteers organize their station, before the event starts.
COUNTING CASH – Two student volunteers organize their station, before the event starts.
Antonio Anderson

Students gathered last Wednesday to simulate living in poverty as a part of an exercise in empathy and compassion, as well as to understand a little of what it is like for those many peoples dealing with poverty.

Poverty Simulator Event Coordinator and NMU Nursing Professor Terry Delpier explained the benefits of the Poverty Simulator and a bit of how it came about.

“The reason that we are doing this is that a lot of our students don’t have experience with poverty and there is a tendency to sometimes misunderstand or almost blame the poor for being poor,” Delpier said. “So, what we are trying to do is provide an experience so our participants can feel what it feels like and hopefully develop some awareness and maybe even some empathy.”

This event has been going on since 2017, skipping a year for the coronavirus, and usually hosting this event twice a semester. More than 80 students participate and volunteer each time the event is hosted. Event coordinators from four departments in NMU come together to put it all on, Delpier explained.

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Delpier said though even with the long history of the event and the many participants, the coordinators have run into trouble with finding affordable rooms to host the event in. She elaborated that without being sponsored by the Student Nurses Association the event may not have happened, as an event like this is not in her department’s budget.

“They kind of stress that they want faculty to do things out of the norm and interdisciplinary, but you can’t do those things without resources and space is a resource,” Delpier said. “I can only wonder what other things haven’t happened because of that.”

The event is looking for more classes and potentially departments to get involved, especially if other professors attend the event with their students. For those wanting to pursue that offer Terry Delpier can be contacted by email at [email protected]

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