Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 01:02
Brandeis’ Student Union and the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life collaborated in 2012 to stage the first-ever ’Deis Impact, a five-day festival devoted to promoting social justice. The two groups planned 27 events, coordinated efforts between 28 different academic departments and student clubs and laid the groundwork for a new chapter in the University’s tradition of social justice.
One year later, this board is pleased to witness the development and expansion of the second-annual ’Deis Impact festival. The Student Union and International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life re-convened these past 10 days to sponsor over 40 events, all aimed at fostering and sustaining a tradition of social justice integral to Brandeis’ mission statement.
The ’Deis Impact Planning Committee featured 44 members from disparate student clubs and administrative organizations, accurately reflecting the interests of the community in this engaged effort for social justice.
The 2013 festival, benefiting from this multi-faceted interaction with the Brandeis community, showcased a diverse collection of events including, the “Life after Death Row: Damien Echols” event as well as the keynote address from Eliza and Judy Dushku.
Additionally, given that the festival encompassed a diverse set of events, the term “social justice” was not rigidly defined. Numerous clubs and organizations joined to promote their own conceptions of social justice, and in the process, present numerous avenues for advocacy and activism. This open and accessible forum for discussing the idea of social justice should serve as a strong foundation for future discussions and efforts.
This board also feels that the added foresight and expanded scope of the committee certainly contributed in raising the profile of ’Deis Impact. While last year’s festival partially suffered from a lack of name recognition, the committee spear-headed an aggressive, timely, and ultimately successful awareness campaign this year to off-set this issue. The ’Deis Impact Committee accomplished this goal through engagement with various student organizations, a clear and concise website, as well as a notable presence on social media mediums.
The festival fittingly concluded last night with the second annual Brandeis SoJust Leadership forum, featuring a collection of prominent Brandeis alumni who have promoted social justice in a diverse array of professional fields. More importantly, these alumni will display to students the transformative impact of their actions both on-and-off campus, and in turn, present opportunities to pursue this course of activism after graduation.
This board advocates for the continued faculty and student input into such a vital collection of causes. It is crucial to promote the importance of student advocacy and activism on a daily basis. The term social justice is often thrown around on campus as a universal cry for activism, and yet, no action follows. We hope that the student body furthers the concrete action that is the ’Deis Impact festival and applies it to their daily lives.
We encourage ’Deis Impact to occur on an annual basis. The festival continues to serve as a reminder that social justice is the defining aspect of the Brandeisian way of life.