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Why Care? Auburn students’ social media campaign against hunger goes international

The whiteboard messages featured in the Why Care? campaign against hunger range from appeals to universal human rights to declarations of immediate personal needs, like P-Nasty from Wetumpka’s sign.

Whiteboards are making a comeback on Auburn’s campus, and with a purpose: fighting world hunger.

Begun as a class project, students in Auburn’s Hunger Studies Capstone course are using the boards as a visual aid to help participants internalize the problem of hunger on a personal level as part of a social media campaign called Why Care?

Why Care? co-founder Devin Yeomans.

How it works: People take a picture holding a whiteboard that finishes the sentence “I care about hunger because… ” The photo is then uploaded to the organization’s website, Facebook or Twitter.

“We felt that asking (people) a question instead of telling them about hunger would raise much more awareness” said Why Care? co-founder Devin Yeomans.

The group’s immediate goal is to get to 10,000 pictures–and therefore at least 10,000 people thinking about why they care about hunger.

Yeomans admits it’s a lofty goal—and according to the website, they’re currently at just 614—but one being made easier with outside support. This summer, the Why Care? Campaign caught the eye of two United Nations programs: the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program.

“They wanted to partner with us to make this international for World Food Day,” Yeomans said.

In addition to student leaders at Auburn University and UAB, the campaign’s founders have been meeting with universities from Canada and Australia to brainstorm about how to reach students around the world, said co-founder Anna Kate Mullinix.

Why Care? co-founder Anna Kate Mullinix

Mullinix says talking to the other universities helps them tailor the movement to other cultures.

Yeomans and Mullinix say the calss is amazed at what its seemingly small idea grew into. Mullinix cites the group dynamics as part of the key to success. “We all felt it (the Hunger Studies Capstone course) wasn’t a class,” she said. “It’s more like a team.”

The team will be on the Haley concourse, whiteboards at the ready, every Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until World Food Day, which is October 16. You can also send them photos via Twitter and Facebook.

They’d love to know why you care.

Here are some photos from the website’s photo stream, which you can view here. Can you spot the Auburn celebs? And who knew campus cops were such kidders?

Video: Auburn Family.

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* Catching up with Auburn’s former Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue model

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About Laurel Dicus

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