Social Justice Week 2016
Many Voices: One Message
At this time every year, we celebrate the liturgical season of Lent. As a Church, we are challenged to take another look at how we relate to people and the world around us and to transform our behavior. Through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we are given the opportunity to become more whole people.
At De La Salle, Lent is also a time to examine issues of social justice. Last year at this time, we celebrated Diversity Week. We noted the common humanity we all share, and celebrated the varieties of cultures and outlooks each of us brings to our community. This year, we are inspired by Pope Francis' most recent encyclical, Laudato Si'. What makes our week so special this year is the contributions of many people from different groups on campus to help us to relate more harmoniously with our planet, to change our habits of consumption, and to see the face of Christ in all others.
The Visual and Performing Arts Department
Arts classes have been hard at work preparing art for: the "Agents of Change: Student Art Show on Climate Concerns." Student art is on view in the Library and in the Hofmann Center. There is also an installation piece near the stepping stones in between the STREAM Center and 300 wing. Each piece has an artists’ statement on the chosen climate concern as well as a QR code linking to resources and ways to take action. The art will be up through at least Feb. 26th.
The Science Department
Ms. Viki Acquistapace has taken the message of Laudato Si' to heart. Since before the encyclical was released, she has invited faculty and staff to spend time discussing the document and why it is so important. She has promoted inter-departmental cooperation in presenting the issues raised in the Pope's message to our students. Posters throughout campus with quotes from the encyclical with prayers written by her students, were the results of a lesson done in her classes. Her classes have done "eco-blitzes," activities where the students performed acts of responsible treatment of the environment, such as moving plastic water bottles from trash cans to recycling bins. In her AP Biology and Biology classes, she has stressed the moral implications of our treatment of the environment.
Campus Ministry has taken the three-fold disciplines of Lent (prayer, fasting, and almsgiving) and devised a program to focus the attention of the De La Salle community to the interdependence we all share with the environment.
PRAYER: The school is invited to prayerfully examine the encyclical
Laudato Si' @@@
, posting a link to the document on Schoology. Religious Studies teachers have been provided with a prayer guide for use in their classes. A five minute video about the encyclical will be shown Thursday, February 18 during announcement time. The custom of placing Stations of the Cross in the court have an environmental justice focus.
FASTING: Fasting from the consumption of disposable plastic water bottles, is a major focus of the week. A School wide challenge to use reusable water bottles will be announced. Water bottles are to be provided to all students during the week. Students will be encouraged to use the hydration stations in Stream building to fill their water bottles. The ultimate goal will be to cut our usage of one-use water bottles to upwards of 500 a day on campus.
ALMSGIVING: Our annual Spartan Charity Challenge encourages students, faculty, and staff to donate the $1.50 a day they normally spend on bottled water to the Charity Challenge. Proceeds from the Challenge will go to four groups: our twin school, Nativity Village School, in Shinara Eritrea; the ministries of the De La Salle Christian Brothers in India and Sri Lanka; the Wheel Chair Foundation, which endeavors to make sure that everyone in the world who needs a wheelchair, has one; and to our Spartan brothers at De La Salle Academy. Last year we raised $9,302.46: this year's goal is to raise one dollar more than we did last year. Over the years the Charity Challenge has raised over $188,000.00.
Religious Studies Department
Teachers have been encouraged to use a set of prayers developed by Campus Ministry. An informational video produced by students in Mr. Trinidad’s Religious 2 classes will be shown Wednesday Feb.17 during the announcement time. Additionally, 30 second ads also produced by Mr. Trinidad’s students will be shown each week as part of the Friday Broadcast.
Social Justice Week Activities
Tuesday Guest Speaker: Mr. John Grossman
Mr. John Grossman of La Salle Manor Retreat House in Plano, IL spoke at an assembly about homelessness, viewing others with compassion, and the link between poverty and the environment. Later in the day, he conducted a workshop on privilege with a number of Religious Studies classes.
Wednesday: Disposable Water Bottle Elimination & Eradication Service Learning Project / Blind Taste Test
Students will become more aware of the harmful effects on the environment by the widespread use of one-use disposable water bottles. A blind taste test involving bottled water and tap water, will be done during lunch.
Thursday: Climate Change Video / Distribution of Reusable Water Bottles
A video on climate change, narrated by actor Morgan Freeman, will be shown to students. Students will take carbon footprint survey and be invited to take a pledge, all during 4th Period Announcements.
Friday: Blind Taste Test Results Announced / Art Walk
Results from Wednesday's blind taste test involving bottled water and tap water, will be announced on the Broadcast. Students will be encouraged to view the art in the Library, the Hofmann Center, and the object hanging from a footbridge between the 300's and the STREAM Building.
Many Voices: One Message
Many voices -- from different academic disciplines and different groups on campus -- have spoken to our school community about making this season of Lent a time for challenging our complacency, giving us an opportunity to give to others, and to transform our world, one person at a time. Behind the scenes -- from the Maintenance Department making holes in the lawn for the Stations of the Cross, to the wise counsel of administrators-- many more people helped the groups mentioned above realize their vision for making this week's activities so inspiring, imaginative, and fruitful.
Taken by Rebecca DeWeese, Art Teacher / VPA Department Chair