By Brennen Finchum
Summer is a season of freedom for many students. Some students go on mission trips, some work, some play video games and others go to the beach. No matter where students may find themselves, they still have an opportunity to engage in social justice. Even at the beach, even while working and even while playing video games.
We contacted many of Trevecca’s beloved professors in the social justice program (with the addition of Dan Boone, university president) and asked them a question: “What is a practical way that students can engage in social justice this summer?” Here are their responses.
Dan Boone, University President – Find a high school student who seems to have a calling to social justice. Mentor the student and recruit him/her to the Trevecca social justice program. You may shape a lifelong servant for the work of God.
Dean Diehl, Instructor, Music business – Buy Local—support small businesses! Go into economically depressed areas in your hometown and support locally-owned businesses in those areas.
Small, locally-owned and operated businesses keep jobs and dollars in the local community. Large chain stores siphon money and jobs away from local communities and require poor workers to spend more time commuting and less time with their families. Even if you have to pay a little more to shop at these stores, it is worth it! Stop paying the huge cost of everyday low prices!
Chris Farrell, Professor, Biology – “Have anyone call and catch me.”
Don Kintner, Professor, Psychology – Ride your bicycle to an urban neighborhood you have never been to before, wherein a majority of the people who reside there do not look like you, and/or you have heard unflattering reports about and therefore shunned (even in your automobile).
Hang out in the neighborhood’s haunts and nodes and restaurants. Talk to the people who live and hang out there. Listen to their stories and share your own. You will find that there is very little difference in your struggles and hopes and dreams!
Kathy Mowry, Associate Professor, Mission & Christian Education – Summer is a time for sweet tea, icy Coke or iced coffee! In America, we spend so much discretionary money on cold drinks in the hot months.
I would love to challenge students to become familiar with a huge need in the world: the problem of Gender-Based Violence in Kenya and beyond. Join the Facebook group for the Kenya Gender Based Violence Project. Learn about what they are doing to change the lives of women in that corner of the world.
Consider giving up all purchased drinks for the summer. Drink from your reusable water bottle, and save all the money you would have spent on beverages to send to this project (or another project that motivates you). Drinking water heals your body, and it will bring healing to others.
Leroy Pepper, Associate Professor, History & Political Science – Do something to help provide clean drinking water for people in under-developed nations (donating to Blood:Water Mission is easy: www.bloodwatermission.com). Spend at least a day or two working with Habitat for Humanity in your locality. Volunteer for at least a day or two at a local food pantry or kitchen for the homeless. “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me’” (Matthew 25:40).
Joy Wells, Associate Professor, Sociology & Social Work – My suggestion is to look for a way to “be present” with someone that is “under the radar” like a senior adult, person with a disability, etc. and periodically spend time with them. Much can be learned from simple steps.
Laurie Woods, Assistant Professor, Sociology & Criminal Justice – My suggestion is for students to visit places of worship of other faiths, particularly Muslim mosques, in order to better understand the people we serve. We need to understand where others come from instead of judging them.