Kalamazoo College's Student Newspaper
Andrew Haughey, Staff Writer
Students around campus spent the two weeks before the “big announcement” speculating hardily about what it could be. There was talk about everything from Obama coming to campus to a new residence hall getting built.
Yet, the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership (ACSJL) took the spotlight with this one. $23 million is a huge amount of money to be used completely for the cause of “social justice,” but did the news really live up to the hype?
There is a certain amount of class-relevancy that is tied to this announcement. Seniors, to say the least, might as well not care much at all about the grant unless they are currently involved in “Social Justice” programs on campus.
For underclassmen, though, the grant has real potential. With the promise of an annual Spring lecture series, a “Social Justice Leadership Fund,” and new summer internships, there will be some immediate benefits from the grant.
Most of the other resources and programs derived from the grant will take a while to really come into effect. That said, the ACSJL was announced for this campus less than three years ago. Arcus Foundation activities have a clear and distinct presence in Kalamazoo, giving
many students a good reason to get involved. For this kind of progress to be made is a huge success for the college and its community.
In the press release announcing the grant, Jon Stryker (founded the Arcus Foundation in 2000) talked about the reason for the grant: “Our intent in making this grant is to foster diverse leaders who advance social justice in all its dimensions – from anti-racism to economic justice to equality for all sexual orientations and gender identities.”
It is clear that an array of students will have the chance to work towards becoming societal leaders in the future. If all students and faculty were to devote themselves minimally to ACSJL activities, the school could gain some serious notoriety now that we have the resources to
turn ideas into actions.
The “big news” may not have lived up to the expectations of some members of the community, but in taking the time to examine how the grant affects our school, it is clear how big it really is. There are already students setting the tone for future “social justice” work through the ACSJL and the road from here onwards continues to look astounding for the Arcus Foundation’s involvement here at Kalamazoo College.