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Louisiana Tech students take part in poverty simulation

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 10:21 PM CST
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Ruston, La. (KNOE) - Louisiana Tech students participated in a poverty simulation on January 13.

About 80 students, most from the College of Applied and Natural Sciences, took part in the exercise designed to teach them about the challenges people face every day.

Students were divided into families and tasked with making financial decisions to keep their families afloat.

“They are going to go to work, they are going to feed their kids, and they’re going to go to the store, the doctor, all of the things that a family would do,” said Pam Jacobsen. Jacobsen serves as a poverty educator with the East Texas Human Needs Network and ran the event.

Dr. Julie Rutledge is the Director of Louisiana Tech’s ENRICH Center. While the program was open to all majors, it was specifically designed for those entering a career in healthcare.

“It’s really important for them to have an understanding of the community and the population that they will be serving,” said Dr. Rutledge.

Senior Biology major Megan Gremillion, who just got accepted to med school, portrayed a 16-year-old girl in a family of five.

“There are just so many things about poverty that I just didn’t even think of because I myself haven’t experienced it,” explained Gremillion. “It’s opened my eyes to the world around me.”

Gremillion says the most challenging part of the exercise was figuring out where to prioritize the little money they had.

“We have had to sell off a lot of our belongings at the pawnshop,” Gremillion told KNOE. “Things like our refrigerator, furniture, tv. Things that most people would have in their homes.”

As for the lessons learned, Senior Nutrition and Dietetics major Brittney Burford said, “It definitely gives you a better perspective. It’s going to make me more aware.”

“The hardships experienced by these people are things we as healthcare professionals need to understand in order to better serve them,” said Gremillion.

To get an inside look at the simulation, watch the video embedded in this article.

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