Four Fifty Project
Political Science Department
In the state of Tennessee, people dependent on the Food Stamp program live on a budget of about $4.50 for food, a day, per person. As Vanderbilt students, we are blessed with a piece of plastic that can get us almost as much food as we could ever need in a day, without even having to consider the price. But as applicants for the Mayfield Living Learning Lodge program, our goal, above all things, is to try to walk a day in these people’s shoes. What could we learn, what could we experience by taking away that piece of plastic, one day a month, and budgeting ourselves with $4.50 each? We, as extremely blessed individuals, want to take on this dynamic program to find out more about the poverty that affects so many of those around us. We want to reflect on Vanderbilt as students who are eager to learn not only through academics, but through experience and through compassion. As a supplement to this experience, we would spend each month learning about a different aspect of the food stamps, whether that be social, economic, political, or a number of other angles to study this program.
But this is not just about us. We do not only want to change ourselves but also the lives of others by expanding our program, recruiting students, and making ours a campus wide project. We want to gain awareness of life outside the “Vandy Bubble.” And finally we want expand into the greater Nashville to bring relief to those who need it by donating the food from our meal plans on “four fifty days” to Second Harvest Food bank and also volunteering there. Following is a detailed description of our proposed program.