Poverty Simulation

September 24, 2012
As part of the Social Inequalities course taught by Dr. Ryan Kelty, the Washington College Sociology Department sponsored the third annual poverty simulation to help students understand the experience of living at the poverty level.


Facts about Poverty (PDF)
Slides from the Simulation (PDF)


Make a promise to take action to make a difference in the lives of those people who experience poverty not just for an hour, but every day.


The first step in helping end poverty is talking about poverty. As you learn more, develop a presentation about poverty to give to organizations in your community or students in a local school.


Poverty is everywhere, including the city or town where you live. Find out what organizations are helping people in poverty. Find out what you can do to help, and do it.

Several Web sites, including volunteer and, let you search by ZIP code and area of interest for volunteer opportunities in your community. If you’d rather design your own project, sites such as www.idealist.org (and international) can give you ideas of innovative initiatives going on in communities around the nation.

Write Letters

Alert government officials, newspaper editors, local business leaders, producers of local television news, etc. about the causes of poverty and what can be done locally or nationally to eliminate it. Writing letters demonstrates that when people with a common purpose combine their skills and energies, the results are magnified. If we can get government officials and members of the media talking about poverty, we have a better chance at winning support for policies and programs that can improve the lives of the low-income. The Web site has guidelines for writing to your legislators and lists of Senators and Representatives by state along with their contact information and committee affiliations. For information on how to contact your state legislators, look on your state’s Web site.


Make it a habit to meet with people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Have you ever noticed that all of your friends and social contacts are from the same economic class? If so, make a point to meet with those who don’t necessarily have as much as you and your family do. By socializing with people at different economic levels, you will develop an awareness and sensitivity to their needs and learn to relate to them as people just like yourself.

Last modified on Mar. 7th at 3:16pm by Erin Anderson.