USF Gives Students a Real Life Low-Income Experience

USF hosts the Community Action Poverty Simulation

SIOUX FALLS, SD— In the Stewart Center over 70 University of Sioux falls students are participated in a unique poverty simulation, where they experienced what it was like for more than 7 million low income families in the United States.

“My family name is the Boling,” said Malley Moore, USF Freshman. “Barbara is pregnant, we have a low-income, our dad just lost his job and our mom is working for like nine dollars an hour as a receptionist.”

The student’s role-play the lives of these families, some are senior citizens, and some are temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipients. All still have to deal with the stressful task of providing for basic necessities.

“The goal of it is I hope they leave with that increased empathy for really understanding what someone from poverty or low income deals with on that daily basis and just the struggles that we aren’t even aware of,” said Jill Fitz, Assistant Nursing Professor at USF.

Although fake money is used the simulation places the students in a different world, where they interact with human service agencies, pawnbrokers and even police officers in extreme cases of stealing to provide for themselves.

“Just realizing that this is such a struggle and it’s something that I always knew about and it’s in the back of my head,” said Moore. “But, now it’s right in front of me and it’s really eye opening.”

This year was the highest number of participants for the simulation, and the university hopes that this experience gives a call to action to the students help in the US fight against poverty.

“That’s my hope from it that it really motivates that action, and think what steps can I do because everyone can do something,” said Fitz.

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