Students' commitment to fast for farmworker justice keeps rolling!

New College students pass the torch to students at Vanderbilt University, Eckerd College, University of Tampa and University of South Florida!

After five long days of fasting — an act that inspired more than 80 of their fellow New College students, as well as college President Donal O’Shea, to fast alongside them — five students from New College of Florida and Valencia College broke bread with farmworkers from Immokalee on Good Friday following a picket at a Wendy’s in Sarasota. Don't miss the exciting photo reports from the New College five-day fast! 

The New College fast was just the latest echo of the tremor felt across the Fair Food Nation when 19 students and alumni from Ohio State University launched their weeklong fast last month as a part of SFA's swiftly growing Boot the Braids campaign.  And the nationwide student fast called by OSU students keeps rolling! 

Next in line this week are four students from Vanderbilt University who begin their own seven-day fast today, joined by dozens of students from Eckerd College, the University of South Florida and the University of Tampa, who will be fasting over the course of five days. 

Like their peers at the University of Michigan – the first school to pick up the rolling fast from OSU – Vanderbilt students are leading their own campaign to Boot the Braids from the Nashville, TN, campus community.  Over the past year, Vanderbilt students have called repeatedly on their university to end its relationship with Wendy’s in light of the fast food chain’s refusal to join the Fair Food Program.  The university, however, has failed to act, despite several meetings with student leaders and over 700 signatures in a campus petition campaign in support of booting Wendy’s off campus.

But Vanderbilt students aren’t the only ones taking action this week!  Inspired by the commitment of their peers, eight students at the University of South Florida in Tampa and the University of Tampa began a three-day fast yesterday, which will end in a 24-hour, campus-wide fast on Wednesday.  

Fresh off an exciting campaign victory just last week that resulted in the affiliation of USF with the Workers’ Rights Consortium – a worker-driven initiative to protect the rights of workers in garment supply chains similar to the Fair Food Program –  the USF chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops is spearheading this week’s fast in alliance with the USF Graduate Assistants Union and farmworker support group, USF Members Empowering True Awareness (META), as well as UT’s Environmental Protection Coalition.

Following the campus-wide fast at USF on Wednesday, Tampa students will pass the torch across the bay to over a dozen fellow students at Eckerd College in nearby St. Petersburg to finish off the week with one- to three-day fasts.  (Of course, this is not the first time Eckerd College students have fasted for farmworker justice:  Thirteen years past, students from Eckerd College joined the nationwide Boot the Bell hunger strikes on campuses across the U.S., with six students fasting for five days!)

And this is only the beginning:  Be sure to stay tuned for more updates as they roll in from student fasts across the country. If you’re interested in joining, hit us up at organize@sfalliance.org to add your campus to the growing list! 

Check out the full photo report from the five-day New College fast in solidarity with the OSU Boot the Braids campaign over at the CIW website!