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Social Just Us food collection
Groceries collected by members of the Social Just-US Club.

In Service for Social Justice
The Social Just-US Club, launched in the spring of 2013, provides an opportunity for criminal justice students to pursue discipline-specific activities highlighting the social justice perspective.

Since its inception, student members have participated in events geared toward blending educational and advocacy efforts, such as field trips, guest lectures and movie screenings. In 2014, membership expanded to include the entire student body, and in 2015, student members volunteered during the inaugural sprint football season in return for an operating budget to conduct outreach efforts. Students voted on three key initiatives that they would fund with the money raised. Those initiatives are being carried out through the fall 2016 semester. 

Last spring, student members Jeannette Rivera '17 and Gabby Valvano '16 purchased and delivered non-perishable groceries to the food pantry at Saint Joan of Arc Parish, which services Philadelphia’s Harrowgate and West Kensington neighborhoods. Students also decided to invest in KIVA, which offers micro-financing loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries. This semester, students will make 300 self-care packages (soap, shampoo, toothbrush/paste, etc.) to be distributed to those re-entering society following incarceration. The packages will be distributed through halfway houses throughout the city of Philadelphia. 

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Sign Your Name Like a Founder

The History and Political Science Department has planned several activities in observance of Constitution Day, September 16. The events will take place the day before, Thursday, September 15, from 4 to 6:30 p.m., outside of the Dining Hall. Stop by and sign your name like a founder – using a quill pen – and take quizzes to test your knowledge of the U.S. Constitution. Prizes will be awarded!

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Benefit Recital Planned

Music Department students will once again hold a recital in memory of Brent Hostetter, a music major and percussionist who was diagnosed with testicular cancer in the fall of 2014.

That October, some music students who are also members of Griffins Against Cancer (GAC) asked if a benefit could be held to help with Brent’s hospital bills. A number of students performed and GAC hosted a bake sale to coincide with the recital. Sadly, Brent died on December 31, 2014.

Last November, the recital and bake sale were held as a memorial to Brent, with proceeds going to the Testicular Cancer Foundation. This year the third recital and bake sale will be held at 2 p.m., October 3, in the Rotunda. 

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Patrick McCauley, Ph.D., to Speak at Maryland FestivalPatrick McCauley, Ph.D., signs copies of his book at a recent appearance.

Patrick McCauley, Ph.D., associate professor of religious studies, will speak at the Harry Potter Festival in Chestertown, Md., on Friday, September 30, a benefit event for the Garfield Center for the Arts and Mid-Shore Community Foundation that celebrates the spirit and theme of Harry Potter while promoting the town's local community and the arts. He will discuss his book, "Into the Pensieve: The Philosophy and Mythology of Harry Potter."

McCauley is the co-founder of the Harry Potter Academic Conference at Chestnut Hill College, with Karen Wendling, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry. CHC's Harry Potter Festival takes place on October 20-22 and includes the conference, the 7th Annual Philadelphia Brotherly Love Cup Quidditch Tournament and lots of fun Harry Potter-related events in the town of Chestnut Hill. See www.chc.edu/broomstick for information.

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Working with Clients in Stepfamily Relationships — a Conference

The Department of Professional Psychology will co-sponsor a two-day conference with the National Stepfamily Resource Center and Auburn University on October 7-8. Scott Browning, Ph.D., ABPP, will be the primary speaker, and will use live demonstrations of therapeutic approaches in complex stepfamilies as well as discuss topics from his book, “Stepfamily Therapy: A 10-Step Clinical Approach.”

The conference, “Working with Clients in Stepfamily Relationships,” is based on the premise that most clinical training does not address stepfamilies as a unique family structure and focuses on practical information for clinicians on working with stepfamilies of all types.

“Members of a stepfamily benefit in learning that some issues are typical,” says Browning. “They need to learn the importance of crystal clear communication between family members and the power of misinterpretations. They are dealing with huge changes, and we can help them.”

In addition to Browning, Francesca Adler-Baeder, Ph.D., professor at Auburn University, and director of the National Stepfamily Resource Center, a division of Auburn’s Center for Children, Youth and Families, will speak about pre-remarriage training. And Brad van Eeden-Moorefield, Ph.D., associate professor of family and child studies at Montclair State University, will discuss the value and importance of clinicians’ understanding the research around stepfamily therapy.

Continuing education credits are offered. Register here or contact Teresa Wagoner at 334-844-3238 or tgw0001@auburn.edu.

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Auschwitz 2016: A Reflection                Marie Conn, Ph.D., poses with Eva Kor on their recent visit to Auschwitz.
   by Marie Conn, Ph.D., professor of religious studies

When friends learned I was planning my third trip to Auschwitz, their first question was “Why?” I replied that I felt the camps had more to teach me. I was right.                   

We had just lost Elie Wiesel. Those still with us are mostly the child survivors, like Eva, and they, too, are slipping away. I am acutely aware of my duty to work hard so that the lessons learned at Auschwitz and other camps never die.               

The group accompanying Eva includes many young teachers. These youthful educators come from all parts of the country, and they share an energy and determination to move the struggle for justice forward. We veteran educators are blessed that the future is in good hands.              

During my previous visits, thinking of the inhabitants of the camps was both moving and tough. This time, however, something clicked inside me and Eva and Miriam became like my grandnieces Olivia and Mary Caitlin; they became real in new ways.         

My friendship with Eva and respect for her has deepened. She has overcome the horror of the camps, the loss of her family, an aftermath of hatred and anger, and has achieved, through her ministry of forgiveness, real happiness. Much of her history breaks her heart and comes out in tear-filled eyes when she speaks of never getting to bury a single family member (Miriam died in Israel, and was buried before Eva could get there). She has a special affinity for the young, often comforting schoolchildren who come to hear her. I’ve seen her in the camps drying the eyes of German teens while assuring them they bear no burden of guilt for what happened.              

Finally, I recalled my first camp visit, many years ago, when a friend and I visited Dachau. Inside the gate is a memorial commissioned by survivors. On its base, in three languages, is the simple declaration, “Never again.” Sadly, this has so far gone unfulfilled. This third trip has strengthened my resolve to continue working for the NEVER AGAIN.

The rhetoric of the current political campaigns, at its worst, echoes that of pre-Nazi Germany. This demands a response from each of us so that today’s children never face what 10-year-old Eva and Miriam did. Sound extreme? Remember that all it takes for evil to prevail is for right-minded people to remain silent.

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