Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Social justice. What does it mean to you?

As an incoming freshman, I can’t say that I’d given it much thought. Social justice just wasn’t a phrase that got tossed around at my high school very often.

But social justice is a big part of Boston College, and of the school’s Jesuit mission. You can’t leave freshman orientation without having at least some idea as to what it means.

And once you arrive on campus in the fall, there are an overwhelming number of opportunities to further develop your understanding of social justice. It is discussed in an academic setting in courses such as Courage to Know and PULSE. It is the undertaking of service organizations such as the Pedro Arrupe Program, the Appalachia Volunteers, and the Eagle Volunteer Corps. Even walking through the quad on an ordinary day, you are bombarded by students and signs calling for social justice in Boston, and Japan, and El Salvador, and Haiti, and Palestine…

I have come to understand this phrase largely through my involvement in 4Boston, a service organization on campus, through which I serve as a tutor and mentor at an afterschool program for underprivileged kids. Although I am far from having developed a complete understanding of social justice, I have come to understand that it has to do with equal opportunities for everyone for health, happiness, and prosperity. And as a tutor, I am working alongside my friends and fellow students to help create these opportunities for the kids we serve.

I don’t believe that there are many schools that share Boston College’s enthusiasm for social justice, or that push its students as far outside of their comfort zone so that they may better empathize with the poor, the suffering, and the forgotten. And while most of us don’t go into our college search looking for these things, perhaps we should.


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