March 07, 2011
Associate Sociology Professor Bruce Friesen received a $34,000 grant from the Tampa Bay Hunger Council to assess food insecurity in Hillsborough and Pinellas households.
Associate Sociology Professor Bruce Friesen and eight of his students
are going door-to-door in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties with
surveys this March and April, trying to get a feel for the level of
hunger in the Tampa Bay area.
Friesen recently received a $34,000
grant from the Tampa Bay Hunger Council to assess food insecurity in
Hillsborough and Pinellas households. Friesen’s job is to measure the
level of hunger by zip code with the data from the surveys. The data
will be contrasted against the capacity of area food banks. The idea is
to make the distribution of food more efficient.
“I see this as a
stop-gap measure. Hunger or the right to food is a human right,”
Friesen said. “There are other countries that don’t have much hunger
because they have re-organized access to food.”
The eight students he hired to help out with the project will gain more than research experience, he said.
will open their eyes to the broader challenges that exist,” he said.
“Working on something like this can almost be as impactful as a study
The project is just one way Friesen is working
for human rights. As a member of Sociologists Without Borders, he
traveled to Washington, D.C., in December to meet with Rep. John Lewis
on a bill to get the U.S. to affirm its commitment to human rights. In
January, he attended the Human Rights Coalition meeting of the American
Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C.
in the U.S. in 2002, Sociologists Without Borders is committed to
seeing human rights protected across the globe. While the U.S. was a
catalyst for the United Nations’
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
, Friesen said the nation’s current record of upholding them is “abysmal.”
a country with so many resources, our level of inequality is the
worst,” Friesen said, citing infant mortality rates and access to
medical care as two measures.
Friesen’s passion boils over into
his classrooms, he said, permeating all of his teachings. He has
partnered with professors from 15 universities in six different
countries for his global sociology class. From Mexico to Italy to
Australia and Russia, the students blog together and form international
work groups to analyze globalization, social justice and human rights.
a sociologist, it fascinates me to think of what our world would look
like if we harnessed all of our human potential,” Friesen said.
Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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