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Social Justice club debuts on campus

9/10/2012 —

 

STUDENT ORGANIZATION CONCERNED WITH ISSUES THAT AFFECT
DISADVANTAGED GROUPS IN THE COMMUNITY

A new student organization that is committed to acting on social issues made its debut at Penn State New Kensington at the start of the fall semester.

The Social Justice Club, founded by students in the Administration of Justice program, promotes social justice awareness through a variety of activities, both on and off campus.  Of particular concern are issues that affect the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in the local communities. Membership is open to all students, faculty and staff of the campus.

“Club members are dedicated to promoting the principles of social, environmental and economic justice, and respect for everyone,” said Kristine Artello, assistant professor of administration of justice and club adviser. “Through their work, they will study and learn about critical local and global social justice issues, like poverty, hunger, racial segregation, urban violence, violation of workers’ rights, domestic violence, environmental destruction, human trafficking, and other forms of inequality and injustice.”

Activities, including discussions and presentations, will be planned throughout the year. In addition, the club is developing a networking aspect to help students search for jobs and scholarships, as well as find mentors for the academic side of campus life.

One of the top agenda items is the discussion of a book, “Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot. Lacks was an African-American tobacco farmer who developed cervical cancer. While undergoing treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital, a doctor removed cell samples from Lacks' cervix without her permission. The samples eventually created a cell line for medical research known as the HeLa immortal cell line. Lacks' cells led to the development of the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and in vitro fertilization.

The new club is the latest addition to the roster of 25 student organizations on campus. One of the requirements by the campus for sanctioning a club is a community service component. The Social Justice group will fulfill its obligation by volunteering at a local shelter in the fall and participating in the annual “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes” during Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the spring.

The first officers of the club are: Nicole Opielowski, president; Andrew Holodnik, vice president; Jack Ramsey, treasurer; and Kelly Buggey, secretary.

For more about the club, contact Opielowski at nao109@psu.edu via email.

For information on starting a campus club or a list of current clubs, visit http://www.nk.psu.edu/StudentLife/ClubsAndOrganizations/clubs.htm online.

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