Breaking the fast

U students fasted from sunrise to sunset yesterday as part of the Islam Awareness Week Fast-a-thon.

After 12 hours of abstaining from food and drink, students who pledged to participate during the event ended their fast at the first annual Ramadan Dinner hosted by the U’s Muslim Student Association last night.

“It was hard to fast the whole day,” U sophomore Amee Garcia said. “I had my hungry moments.”

MSA member Anwar Arafat said the association decided on the theme “Go Hungry for a Day So Someone Else Won’t Have To” because 15.2 percent of households in Utah experience a shortage of food every year.

Arafat added that Utah is the leading state for food insecurity and hunger, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Several local businesses promised to pay $3 to the Utah Food Bank for every student who pledged to fast.

Graduate student Tim Edgar did his part as one of the 120 non-Muslim students involved in the Fast-a-thon.

“It was a great way to give back to the community,” he said. “For me, the main reason I fasted was because I love to experience different aspects of each culture and when I heard about the Ramadan Dinner, it was something I wanted to do.”

Edgar said it was not that hard for him to fast because he ate breakfast before the sun came up yesterday.

“I would advise students who plan on participating in the Fast-a-thon next year to get up before sunrise and eat breakfast,” he said. “The main thing I had a problem with was not drinking anything.”

Alex Lowe, president of the Associated Students of the University of Utah, was a speaker at the event and participated in the fast.

“One of our goals this year at ASUU is for student groups to reach out across cultural barriers,” he said.

When asked about the involvement of ASUU in the Fast-a-thon, Lowe said he did “not want to promote ASUU.”

“This is not about ASUU,” he said. “It is important to support the MSA and Islam Awareness Week.”

Arafat said the MSA raised a total of $363 for the Utah Food Bank with 121 pledges.

“It was not just about raising funds,” he said. “We wanted students to experience what it feels like to go hungry for a day.”

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