Faith, Justice, and Learning
The following is a brief record of the work done by JAS students over the past decade and more. For further information on the students' work and any of their materials or links, contact the chaplain.
The JAS student, Koleen Jensen, now a medical doctor, was a senior student in the BSc program in nursing, participated in the KAIROS training event at Tatamagouche and attended regularly the monthly meetings of the Halifax Cluster of KAIROS. She developed a bulletin board at the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection on which she focused monthly on different justice and compassion groups on campus and within Metro. She researched and prepared materials on Hope Cottage, NSPIRG, WaterCAN, Phoenix Youth House, the Dalhousie Women’s Centre, etc. She publicized volunteer opportunities on the bulletin board. With the chaplain, she helped develop an exhibit in the Student Union Building on World Day for Water, which brought together a half dozen agencies within Metro who have a focus on world water issues. On graduation and returning for a brief period to New Denmark, NB, she involved her community in KAIROS justice awareness,
The students in this position during the year were Asha Arabi, in a masters in international development at Dalhousie, and Matthew MacDonald, who completed a Master of Arts degree in political science at Dalhousie. Both Asha and Matthew attended the annual meeting of KAIROS at Tatamagouche and attended meetings of the Halifax Cluster of KAIROS during the terms; Matthew assisted with the planning of the KAIROS Sunday Service in March. The JAS students arranged a table promoting KAIROS and its justice initiatives in the Student Union Building in October. Asha was joined by a classmate and Lutheran student in the masters in international development program, Jocelyn Burr, in speaking at Resurrection Lutheran on the Sunday nearest World Food Day. Matthew arranged a film screening of Street Nurse on the life of a nurse on the streets in Toronto at Uncommon Ground, a local coffee shop, and a letter writing event for Amnesty International after church.
The student in this position during the 2008 - 2010 academic years was Jocelyn Burr. Jocelyn was a graduate student in a master of arts degree in international development studies at Dalhousie. She had been active with the Women’s Centre at Dalhousie and Engineers Without Borders at the University of Manitoba.
The student in the position was Cate Lacroix. Cate was a student at King’s College taking a Bachelor of Arts degree. She worked on a variety of local and global concerns, particularly environmental issues and the importance of the care of the earth, etc. Cate had worked for a number of years at Camp Calumet in New Hampshire.
The student in the position as Justice and Action was Melaku Assefa, who subsequently has worked with the United Nations in Geneva. A student in the Bachelor of Management program at Dalhousie University, he had been a delegate at two World Model United Nations conferences: Taipei 2010 and Singapore 2011. As a JAS student he set up a Facebook page, the Universal Network for Global Justice, UNGJ to facilitate conversation about local and global injustices all over the world. He also planned a panel discussion on the intersection of social networking and action for justice. Having graduated from Dalhousie, Melaku went on to study international law in Brussels, and he continues posting on the Facebook page he created.
Two students were involved in action projects. Caroline McNamee, a graduate student in science, developed an event with a focus on Rape Culture, a timely theme as a result of Canadian campus awareness of sexual violence. Amani Saini, a Masters of Public Administration student with extensive experience with the Red Cross and with multifaith work in Vancouver, developed two themes. One of the events focused on the Damaging Effects of Discrimination; a second event consisted of films and action activities on the theme of Weapons of War: The Human Consequences of Conflict. Amani also wrote an article on the Sweaters for Syria for the campus website and the Herald; this was a project of Canadian Lutheran World Relief.
During the academic year 2014-2015 two students at Dalhousie planned social, justice, and environmental projects for the Dalhousie community and for the city. Emma Wardell, a Bachelor of Arts student with honours in theatre, had been involved in project development among youth and in world animal protection groups. She has worked with several projects, one of which was as co-founder of a Progressive Youth Initiative in Ontario, and an animal responsibility camp in Ontario as well as being involved with Dalhousie World Animal Protection. She presented two events: One centred on developing volunteerism and youth resilience and the second event focused on the complex relationship between humans and whales.
Brett Maletic, a registered social worker and who was studying for a Masters in Social Work at Dalhousie. His interests centre on food justice as well as issues pertaining to social barriers in food security. He networked with local agencies during his years in Halifax such as shelter programs, street outreach groups, and local food distributors. Brett sought ways to improve awareness and education to promote successful bridging networks between local food growing initiatives and the city’s disadvantaged populations. Brett facilitated an event "At the Table: Grassroots Strength and Social Policy for Food Justice" with voices of experts in aspects of food security in the region.
Elsa Tokunaga was a student at Dalhousie in a program on economics, sustainability, and biology. She also had a strong interest in matters of social justice. She had worked in the summer in educating on the importance of environmental conservation and the impact that people have on the climate. She developed materials to introduce students and the community to walking trails and other natural sites in the region with information on significant environmental aspects to observe during those walks. She created educational maps of areas within walking/busing distance of the University to focus users’ attention to specifics of sustainability, environmental issues, or points of interest. She prepared a guide to hiking in the HRM.
Emma Wardell returned for a second time as a JAS student. See her brief bio below. Her first event, Newsprint, was a collaborative arts event which was an evening for discussion and creative response to the news. In a second event Emma, interested in the art of self-expression, explored the intersection of art and mental health and assisted people in reflecting on how one presents one’s self in the world. Her work included a forum and circle conversation with art exploring how individuals’ mental health relates to a response to media stories. She published a magazine with anonymous submissions of poetry and writing about mental health.
Again in 2016-2017 two students at Dalhousie planned social, justice, and environmental projects for the Dalhousie community and for the city. Christen Kong, an International Development and Sustainability student, minored in Social Anthropology at Dalhousie. She attended her first storytelling session in Whitehorse in the Yukon and witnessed the incredible power of stories to gather and connect people. She began Talking Heads, an on-campus storytelling forum for students and has expanded story sharing into podcasts. Her podcasts available here present stories on the themes of success, childhood dreams, risks and regrets, etc. She believes that everyone has something valuable to say and should take ownership of their own story. We want to hear the ways in which people see and experience the things around them. She likes these words of Wayne Dyer: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
Siobhan Takala was a junior year of Sustainability and Environmental Science at Dalhousie University when she was a JAS student. She has a passion for exploring the world to learn about other cultures and environments. After traveling to many countries and with her interest in sustainability, she explored the social and environmental impacts of volunteering abroad or what has become known as "voluntourism." She hosted a film screening of the documentary Gringo Trails, preceded by comments by Dr. John Campbell of the IDS Department, followed by an engaging conversion with the forty who attended, and created a resource for attendees to help them think critically about the impact they may have in future travels.
A presentation in the fall was offered by a number of Dalhousie and King's College students who were part of IDEAS, a student society inspired by International Development Studies. That society seeks to promote education and awareness regarding issues of poverty, development, and social justice. The team included Katelyn Maher and Cassandra Hinchlifee as well as others. IDEAS spearheaded a two-part series focused on the 16 Days of Acrtivism Against Gender Violence in November and December. The first event had an educational component with a film screening of Girl Rising with a follow up group discussion. A complementary event was a Self-Care Workshop which focused on taking care of oneself and loved ones.
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