Discussing controversial social issues may be tough for some students, but a new group on campus provides a safe environment to help facilitate these discussions.
The Justice League at TCU provides an opportunity for students to meet and discuss various social issues and related experiences that they have encountered, Anannya Mukherjee, a facilitator of the Justice League, said.
“What we wanted to do is have some place where students could have social justice-based conversations on campus,” Mukherjee, who graduated from the university in December, said. “From that, they could also network with each other and start up organizations or programs on campus once they graduated.”
Liz Schmitt, a senior social work major, and recent graduate Wyatt Kanyer are also facilitators. Melissa Gruver, the community engagement coordinator in the Center for Community Involvement & Service-Learning, serves as the staff coordinator for the program, Mukherjee said.
The idea for the Justice League Group came from Justice Day, a day on April 20 for TCU students to discuss different forms of social oppression and how that oppression can be stopped, Gruver said.
“The students were wanting to continue the conversation from Justice Day,” she said. “They were wanting to find tools in order to create this change.”
The current facilitators received their training during last year’s Justice Day and a dialogue group that took place in the fall, Mukherjee said.
“I think it’s a really valuable experience to take out with you into the world, especially if you are in a career that will be dealing with other people,” Scott Brown, a junior religion and sociology double major, said. “This is going to help being able to understand some of the social forces that most of us are not aware of.”
Each group is made up of five to eight students that discuss topics and issues that emerge. The groups meet once a week, either on Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. or Fridays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., for eight weeks leading up to Justice Day.
“The main thing is to seek other perspectives and to be around other people that are different than you,” Gruver said. “And to give skills on how to talk about things that are sometimes controversial.”
For more information on the Justice League or how to join, email Liz Schmitt at [email protected]. Registration information for Justice Day 2013 will be available shortly on the Community Involvement website.