Oxfam rail jam to support local foods

In the past few months there have been many sightings of the slogan “1 Billion” chalked onto buildings across campus.

According to Sydney Hyatt, a member of the Oxfam America club at UVM, that slogan represents the 1 billion people that go to bed hungry every night.

“Oxfam goes in and educates the people to teach them how to live sustainably. It’s dedicated to fighting poverty, social justice and hunger all over the world,” Hyatt said.

To continue their current campaign, “GROW BIG or GO HOME,” which advocates locally grown food, the club is sponsoring a rail jam.

Forty skiers and snowboarders will be featured in the freestyle competition to compete for the grand prize of their favorite home-cooked meal made by the club. The UVM Ski and Snowboard Club will be providing judges who will eliminate competitors over the first two rounds then choose the winner, according to Courtney Casper, chair of the club.

“It [The rail jam] is an unconventional but recreational way to educate students and participants about world issues. Casper said, “It’s gonna be a lot of fun — people don’t associate it with nonprofit work.”

The biggest drawback in putting on the event has been the weather, Casper said.

The rail jam was originally scheduled for Jan. 27 but with the lack of snow and sufficiently cold weather the club has rescheduled it for Feb. 4. If it does not snow by next weekend, the club will have to ask for the ice shavings from the hockey rink to make the rail jam possible, Casper said.

Another setback the club is experience is the lack of funding, because it is Oxfam’s first year at the UVM campus.

The club wanted to hold the rail jam on campus but UVM charges $2,500 for set-up and that just was not possible, Casper said. Instead it will be held in front of the Sigma Phi fraternity house.

“We’re really excited to have it at Sigma Phi,” Casper said. “I think Greek life is really down for some redemption. 

During the rail jam there will be a DJ, a performance by UVM student rapper Jacob Es and free Ben and Jerry’s ice cream scooped for spectators.

If the event is cancelled again due to weather, the club will continue to reschedule it, Casper said.