When you think of Issues Day, do you think of a day where all you talk about is politics? A day where all you do is sit in the Terry Center and someone lectures to you? For those of you who thought that going into this years Issues Day, you were sorely mistaken.
In years past, Jesuit has made Issues Day presentations on current events occurring around the world. This year, things changed. First off, Campus Ministry and the St. Joseph’s Society were in charge of this years Issues Day, and they decided that instead of talking about world events, why not discuss about topics that are pertinent to the students?
The theme was being Men of Love and Responsibility. Campus Ministry gave certain periods to certain clubs or teachers to demonstrate various ways to finish that sentence. For instance: Being Men of Love and Responsibility In Working With Scientific Advances. This gave the faculty a lot of flexibility in terms of how they want to approach their topic, by video or through personal stories.
As many students saw in this Issues Day, many of the presenters delivered their speech with a more personal touch than ever seen. For 9th period (which was Being Men of Love and Responsibility When it Comes to Being the Example for Another Man) we heard stories from a panel comprised mostly of fathers who told their stories about how they have strived to become better role models for their kids or students. “It was geared towards what is relevant to you guys now in this school, and choices that you can make,” says Mrs. Crowder, Campus Ministry Director. This contrasts Issues Day last year where we learned about politics and world events, not necessarily daily concerns.
Campus Ministry’s new angle on Issues Day received a lot of positive feedback. A Moodle survey let students give feedback to Campus Ministry about each presentation. According to the survey, the majority of students really enjoyed Mr. Robert Donahue’s and Mr. David McGowan’s presentation (Being Men of Love and Responsibility in Times of War and Peace) and Mr. Rob McGhee’s and Mr Jude Harrington’s presentation (Being Men of Love and Responsibility in Loving Those Who Make Bad Choices). Mrs. Crowder said that “they really enjoyed the periods where they were challenged with difficult questions so they enjoyed Mr. Donahue’s and Mr. McGowan’s presentation because it was something that seemed real to them… They really enjoyed the 2nd period presentation because with Mr. Harrington it had a very personal example that he gave and they started to think about both sides of the issue (the death penalty).”
Among all of these great presentations, one in particular created a little controversy. Being Men of Love and Responsibility in Treating Others Fairly, a presentation given by the Not For Sale Club about Sex and Labor Trafficking. The main message was that the demand for Sex Trafficking is almost always by men, and since the students at this school are all young men, the club thought it would be appropriate to raise awareness for this issue. This issue is especially pertinent to us because Dallas is among the worst cities in the U.S in terms of the volume of Human Trafficking that occurs. “I knew going in that I was going to talk about some controversial stuff, and that some people might feel defensive towards it,” said Mrs. Segal, moderator for Not for Sale. She added on to that by stating that the group may have shocked its audience a little too much, and as a result, some students may have believed that some of the facts or stories were made up when in reality all of the information was fact.
“I think that the whole point of Issues Day was to start a conversation about what it means to truly be a man for others and I am confident that my presentation, as well as my colleagues’, accomplished that,” Mrs. Segal explained.
All in all, Issues Day was a very large success and Mrs. Crowder said that she and Campus Ministry would definitely be up for doing it again, because “Issues Day is a great forum for people to pose challenging questions that start a conversation about important issues that we face all the time.”