The staple Jesuit mission of creating men and women for others is an ideal present in numerous activities and events all over campus, especially yesterday.
Tuesday was World Social Justice Day: a special observance by the United Nations celebrated every year on February 20. The day is dedicated to recognizing the need to tackle issues such as “poverty, exclusion and unemployment,” according to Wikipedia. UN.org writes that the day, being celebrated for its eleventh year, reflects the need for strong social dimensions to achieve “improved and fair conditions for all.”
This year, the University Cross Cultural Center and Campus Ministries took this day as an opportunity to educate students on various social justice issues around the world and in the Scranton community. The organizations hosted a Social Justice Ice Cream Social on second floor of the DeNaples Center. Various tri-folds explaining what the day is all about lined the lounge area and students could create ice cream sundaes while reading all about different social justice movements.
Jose Sanchez, Assistant Director of the Cross Cultural Center, explained the focus of the event.
“Basically we are showcasing different social movements,” Sanchez said. “This year are focusing a lot about movements around DACA, refugees, human trafficking, TPS the temporary protection status for parents of children who are here. As you go through the tables you get to make your own ice cream bowl.”
Senior operations management major Phils Opoku, a work study in the Cross Cultural Center and a member of the University’s United Color Organization was happy to help prepare for the event.
“I think we should be aware of other people’s environments and type of troubles they go through. We need to promote what they go through and find solutions for them,” Opoku said.
Last semester, Opoku attend a social justice bus tour ran by the University Center for Service and Social Justice.
“It was a great experience. Seeing that community shows how fortunate we are but that we need to help them out as well and I think that’s the purpose of life, that what social justice tries to do.”
The social justice bus tour is one of many service opportunities offered here at The University. As a Jesuit Institution, “creating men and women for others’ is at the core of these opportunities. Senior nursing student and International Service Program Peer Facilitator Angela Dory, is proud to be a part of this type of community.
“There are really huge social justice issues and it’s really important to bring awareness. I think the ice cream social was a great event,” Dory said. “In ISP, some students don’t think it’s faith based so they tend to focus more on the social justice part and knowing that it’s a moral obligation to go out and serve other people that need help.”
Cathy Seymour, Campus Minister for Social Justice, is always thrilled when organizing events such as the Social Justice Ice Cream Social.
“I’m really happy to be celebrating world day of social justice along with Jose and the multicultural center students because it [social justice] kind of crosses all boundaries,” Seymour said. “No matter your faith tradition, no matter where you’re from or who you are, social justice affects all of our lives because we need to be fighting for those who won’t have as much of a voice as we do. Those of us here in a higher education setting have lots of knowledge about lots of topics and we need to be advocates and use our voices…not only for people and students who are DACA recipients but also people who are migrants and refugees, or those who are just living in poverty in the Scranton area.”
The University Cross Cultural Centers and Center for Service and Social Justice offices can both be found on second floor of The DeNaples Center in the student forum. Campus Ministries can also be found on second floor, room 200.