If you go

What: Hunger Banquet

When: Thursday, 7 to 9 p.m.

Where: UMC room 235

Cost: Free

For more info visit Hunger Banquet on Facebook, tinyurl.com/389qa6v.

University of Colorado students are bringing poverty to life at the university's first-ever Hunger Banquet on Thursday in the University Memorial Center.

Students from the CU chapter of the Colorado Public Interest and Research Group -- or CoPIRG -- are hosting a free dinner and discussion about poverty as part of the university's first Hunger and Homelessness awareness week. But some of the attendees may be disappointed with their dinner portions.

Upon entering the banquet, participants will receive a card with their character's name, story and social class. This description will provide inspiration for their role as attendees to become part of a simulation meant to encourage conversation among the diners.

CU sophomore Laura Rogers, event organizer and CoPIRG intern, said the lower class participants will sit on the floor after serving themselves a small bowl of rice. Middle class characters will sit in chairs and serve themselves a moderate portion of rice and beans while the upper class is served a hearty portion of pasta and sit on tall comfortable chairs.

"It will be interesting to see how participants react to the situation," Rogers said. "It just exemplifies the social classifications and their consequences in a real way for people who may not recognize it every day."

Students said they're hoping to see at least 100 participants at Thursday's dinner. Only 15 percent of attendees will get an upper class card with a full-portioned meal.

CoPIRG volunteer Kyle Ambler and Kris Hoyt, a lecturer from the CU Sociology Department, will be leading discussions during and after the dinner.

"We hope this week raises awareness about hurting communities and foster discussion about hunger and homelessness," Rogers said. "We want to get these issues into the Boulder market so people will take action and help out."

Rogers said educating both the Boulder and CU communities is the first step to creating change and that is the main reason CoPIRG began what they hope will be an annual campaign.

CU senior and campaign coordinator Cassie Gedbaw said she hopes students take the week to focus on important issues that they often avoid.

"Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in a world where you think your tests and papers are the biggest problems going on, but I think that a week educating on homelessness, hunger and poverty could be really humbling for a lot of people at CU," Gedbaw said.

Gedbaw said she is also encouraging students to connect with the local community and get involved with poverty efforts around campus.

"Most students don't realize there are about 500 homeless people in Boulder and only 200 beds for them to escape the winter nights," Rogers said. "We should do something."