Southern campus participates in Social Justice Week
Jessica Pellegrino – General Assignment Reporter
The President’s Commission on Campus Climate and Inclusion recently held Southern Connecticut State University’s second annual Social Justice Week. The week began with the social media campaign, #owlsforjustice, which students could post their reactions and responses to the week’s events on their Twitters, Instagrams, and Facebooks.
The University created Social Justice Week to get every student involved in the conversation, including Southern’s Student Life leaders, commuters and Residence Life Students. Programs for all of these different groups were offered during the week in the form of film screening, discussions and guest speakers.
According to a statement from President Papazian, “In support of Southern’s mission that indicates our commitment to academic excellence, access, social justice and service for the public good, Social Justice Week is a focused opportunity to ask ourselves to consider our role in challenging injustice, valuing diversity and creating a climate of inclusion. The goals of this week are to raise awareness, increase knowledge and inspire action.”
The week of Social Justice centered programs started on Monday with a conversation with President Papazian, is which students could ask the president questions and tell her where they believed the university could improve in the realm of social justice.
The week was full of events regarding inclusion, bystander awareness and challenging various types of injustice on campus and beyond.
During the “Dear World” event, Southern students sported their individual stories in black marker on their bodies for a photo shoot to draw attention to injustices like racism and mental illness stigmatizing. The event concluded with a photo reveal.
Southern also planned a Social Justice Weekend for Southern’s student leaders to increase their social awareness.
According to the Southern website, “Social Justice Weekend will give students the opportunity to address some of the critical topics of diversity and social justice impacting our community. Students will be able to engage in transformative discussions, build connections & alliances and increase their self-awareness and identity.”
Southern also understands that not all students learn the traditional way. The Southern website also features a video about Social Justice Week. The website said, “People communicate in different ways. Let’s recognize and include all people in all settings. A video created by students in the Department of Communication Disorders; representing the collaborative efforts of the SCSU’s chapters of the National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association and Operation Smile, the Student Autism Awareness and Advocacy Club and the Cultural Competence Club.:”
Mandi Kuster, interim director of Campus Recreation believes events like Social Justice Week are important because students should be social aware of the injustice around them.
“I think Social Justice Week is important because it is a campus wide initiative to challenge students, faculty and staff to think about Social Justice in a way they may not have done before,” she said. “It is an opportunity to come together to value and celebrate diversity and create a climate of inclusion. We hope the conversations go beyond this week. This week is a great reminder of Southern Connecticut State University’s mission in regards to diversity and equal justice for all.”