New Social Justice Summit format is engaging and fun

Plank Article Rowan Craig '23 Jackson Sloat ’23

The Social Justice Summit on Human Dignity took place on March 9, 2022 with the goal of teaching students about different aspects of justice and how they can be applied to world problems today.

Students were instructed to choose three sessions to attend, which featured speakers who focused on different social justice issues within the spheres of indigenous healing, prison reform, environmental justice, and migrational justice. This was the first summit in Jesuit history in which students were allowed to hand-pick their sessions for themselves.

Ms. Sara Brabec, theology teacher and director of service and justice, explains how they changed and looked to improve the summit this year.

“We’ve made some significant changes to the structure of the summit over the last two years, in large part so that students would have a coherent experience as a whole,” Ms. Brabec said. “In the past, students had no say of which sessions they attended, or how many—that was all decided by their teachers. With the day-long model we moved to, students get to choose the sessions they attend from a menu of options, have time to learn about the topics in advance, and experience a coherent summit from start to finish.”

However, some parts of the summit still received complaints. For example, Sevrin Senger ’23, did not enjoy the fact that all of his speakers were on zoom.

“I think the summit would have been more interesting if the people were in person because it would have been more engaging,” Sevrin said. “

Kenny Castro ’23, on the other hand, believes the summit was well done and very much enjoyed the presentations.

“I think the summit was well organized, and very professional,” Kenny said. “I think the presenters were also very professional in the way they presented their presentations.”

Kenny also believes that the summit could have improved in the student decision making process and the way presentations were given.

“I think the summit could be improved by allowing us to give more time to pick our topic and I also think we could have more time to ask questions to the presenter,” Kenny said.

After hearing feedback from students, Ms. Brabec responds on how the Office of Service and Justice is going to improve the summit next year.

“The staff in the Office of Service and Justice are taking time to review the feedback students and teachers submitted before making any definitive changes,” Ms. Brabec said. “Some of our initial thoughts are to make lunch longer, to focus on bringing more in-person speakers and fewer speakers over Zoom, and to coach speakers in offering engaging, student-centered presentations to the extent possible.”

In general, this new format provides a much more engaging and fun experience for students. Even though there are still some wrinkles the school would like to iron out. This new format for the summit can be good for the future.