Why are there stars in Scandling? – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Why are there stars in Scandling?

A question can be heard this week echoing through the halls of the Scandling Campus Center. Why are there so many stars? Here is the explanation.

Across large expanses of East Africa, one of the most devastating famines in recent history is impacting millions of individuals. According to Oxfam International, “Two successive seasons of poor rains, entrenched poverty and lack of investment in affected areas have pushed 12 million people into a fight for survival.”  The price of staple foods has risen to unaffordable levels for many people, and weak animals and the collapse of livestock markets have reduced people’s income and ability to buy essentials.

On Thursday, Sept. 15, Syracuse University Associate Professor Hans Peter Schmitz will give a presentation titled “International Responses to the Somalian Famine: Too little, Too late” at 7:30 p.m.  in the Sanford Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library. In addition, recent Hobart graduate Matt Wilson ‘10 will speak about the huge waves of refugees fleeing Somalia from Ethiopia where he is currently serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer.  This discussion will be the capstone event of fundraising and awareness event spanning the entire week.

In collaboration with the event, the HWS branch of Americans for Informed Democracy has hung more than 3,000 stars throughout the Scandling Campus Center. These stars serve to raise awareness within the community of the truly astounding human cost of this tragedy.  United Nations has estimated that more than 29,000 children under the age of 5 have already died as a result of this tragedy in Somalia alone. Each star on display serves to honor and remember 10 of these children as well as the countless others.

 “A famine is uniquely devastating as there is no single event or problem that creates it or a specific moment when tragedy struck. These features make it particularly difficult to end as well as to raise awareness about,” says Americans for Informed Democracy President Anna Dorman ’14.

Members of the HWS branch of Americans for Informed Democracy will be available to accept donations and answer questions in Scandling from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.  Monday until Thursday.  Donations can also be made online at:


Donations will be sent to Oxfam International which has already sent more than 23 tons of supplies and hundreds of volunteers to areas across Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya.

Schmitz is an associate professor in the Maxwell School of Syracuse University as well as the director of research for the Transnational NGO Initiative. He has his M.A. in political science, history, and ethnology, from Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen; Ph.D. Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Studies, European University Institute (EUI, Italy). He also spent time teaching and researching at the Department of Verwaltungswissenschaft, Universität Konstanz and was a post-doctoral fellow and instructor in the Human Rights Program at The University of Chicago.


Wilson graduated with a double major in political science and individual major. He studied abroad in Israel and was Stewardson Society co-chair for the 2009-2010 senior gift campaign.

Questions about upcoming events or Americans for Informed Democracy can be directed to anna.dorman@hws.edu