Hunger complaints are all too common on college campuses, but how many students really know what starvation feels like? This is the idea behind World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine: to educate people about global food insecurity by offering a glimpse into what genuine hunger feels like – through 30 hours of fasting. Yeah, that’s more than a day without food. The challenge, while incomprehensible to some, was embraced by almost thirty Rochester students between February 27-28th.

30 Hour Famine!

Photo by Agnes Chen

Open to all students, fasters found sponsors among friends and families to help raise $1,095 for World Vision’s global hunger-fighting efforts. Participants were encouraged to try  a ‘full fast,’ during which their only sustenance would be water, but cautioned to drink juice or even eat a few crackers if they started feeling seriously weak. Several interfaith events, including a Shabbat service and Muslim prayer, brought fasters and non-fasters together to provide distraction from growling stomachs in the hours leading up to the ‘Break-fast’ dinner.

30 Hour Famine!

Gluten-free, vegan dinner.
Photo by Agnes Chen.

I talked to Rebecca Amorese, a freshman fasting for the first time, to hear what her experience was like.

30 Hour Famine!

Photo by Agnes Chen

People can contribute by simply donating money. What made you decide to actually fast?
I wanted to know what it felt like to be hungry for 30 hours and really get the experience – no one really knows what hunger means. Also, I’m part of the Protestant Chapel Community, so it was kind of a shared experience with them.

How did you prepare to go without food for 30 hours?
I just had a big lunch beforehand. I grabbed a bunch of different stuff from Hillside.

Can you describe the 30 hours in stages of hunger or tiredness?
Going to bed was actually really hard – it was difficult to go to sleep hungry. In the morning it was difficult, because you woke up hungry and couldn’t do anything about it.

What about concentration in class?
That wasn’t too bad because I was just looking forward to the end of it. I was counting down the hours.

Did you have any specific cravings?
Not really. If I saw other people eating, I just wanted to eat whatever they were eating.

Do you think this will have an impact on how you eat from now on, or just on your perception of global hunger?
It’s definitely more of a perspective thing. The 30 hours were difficult. I drank a ton of water, and that helped, but not everyone is that fortunate. I definitely see how important global hunger is.

Do you think everyone should try this at least once?
It’s a good experience if you have the right mindset. You shouldn’t do it just to say that you did it; you should want to experience what it’s like to be hungry.

Learn more about World Vision and the 30 Hour Famine