Winter 2003 Magazine Archive & SearchMuhlenberg Home

 

 

Center for Ethics
connects campus,
local community
to critical issues

BY COURTNEY RUSSELL ’03

To say that the Muhlenberg Center for Ethics has a mission of global importance is an understatement.

Founded in 1997, the Center is dedicated to helping members of the Muhlenberg family and the surrounding community to explore and better understand the complex issues impacting the global society we live in today, ranging from topics like world hunger and patriotism to personal and professional responsibility.

In addition to its far-reaching mission, part of what makes the Center different is the fact that it works through active, co-curricular – rather than extra-curricular – multi-discipline programming such as thematic lectures and special events. It also incorporates a hands-on approach to exploring what can oftentimes be tough topics and encourages members of the campus community to reflect on ethics, moral leadership and responsible action.

This multi-faceted institution is run by Marjorie Hass, associate professor of philosophy and director of the Center for Ethics. While Hass provides leadership, the Center’s success would not be possible without the support of countless individuals, ranging from professors and students at the College to members of the Allentown community and Christopher Kovats-Bernat ’93, assistant professor of anthropology and the Center’s former programming director.

Recently, faculty and students met to brainstorm ideas for a thematic focus for 2003-2004 programming. As a result of this productive gathering, the topic for next year’s events was decided: “Sustainable Communities: Balancing Economy, Ecology and Justice.” In addition to the forums, speakers and special events this theme will foster, the Center is looking forward to a research site on campus. Located in the Chapel House, this site will allow interested individuals to explore the programmatic theme and other issues related to the Center’s mission in
more depth.

“Sustainable Communities” will follow the model of the Fall 2002 series, “Patriotism in a Global Era: The Boundaries of Home,” in terms of campus programming and the ways in which the programming theme can be integrated into the classroom.

Highlights of the semester-long Patriotism series included a photography exhibit, student concerts, interactive forums and a veteran’s reception. It explored key questions such as “What is it that one loves when one loves one’s country?” and “What is the relationship between patriotism and war?”

In addition, the Center also sponsored a public showing and discussion of the PBS film, “My American Girls: A Dominican Story.” The documentary captures the struggles and joys of the Ortiz family, first-generation immigrants from the Dominican Republic living in Brooklyn, New York. The Ortiz family and filmmaker Aaron Matthews attended the event and participated in the discussion.

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