This article is featured in the March edition of the Nashville Christian Family magazine.
Trevecca social justice majors and students from other disciplines—both undergraduate and graduate—are applying their learning to help others as they live out the great commandments “to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, and soul—and your neighbor as yourself.”
Trevecca Nazarene University’s new J. V. Morsch Center for Social Justice is coordinating these efforts. “Following the founding of the Center in 2009, Trevecca’s faculty and students have devoted their academic skills to fulfill the Center’s vision: To be the hands and feet of Christ in this community,” said Jamie Casler, director of the Center.
Fighting human trafficking—Social Justice and Business
The Underground Justice and Mercy Center will provide much-needed help for women and children held in all forms of human slavery. Social justice majors created this new initiative, wrote its nonprofit business plan, and conducted marketing and policy research for this new initiative, which will open in 2012.
Trade of Innocents, a new Hollywood movie about human trafficking, will use the marketing ideas from three Trevecca students in its overall marketing plan. Greg Steward, a senior business major from Hermitage, Tennessee; Betsy Harris, a senior graphic design major from Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, and Amy Taylor, a senior English major from Antioch, Tennessee, collaborated to bring awareness to this important social issue. “Drawing upon our unique academic skills, the three of us worked together to complete the job—in a way that one of us could not have done alone,” said Greg. Trade of Innocents will be released later in 2012.
Bringing attention to justice issues—Journalism and Theatre
Reporting on social justice efforts is the goal of Micah Mandate, an annual magazine produced by students in English/journalism, graphic design, IT, and social justice. The following serve on the editorial team: Jordan Taylor, a senior communication studies major from Shawnee, Kansas. Alexander Hall, a freshman journalism major from Springboro, Ohio; and Jonathan McGee, a senior information technology major from Hendersonville, Tennessee.
Exposing social injustices is the goal of applied theatre. This new minor teaches students to use theatre as means to expose social injustices in marginalized communities.
Meeting human need directly—Physician Assistant Program and Social Justice
The Three-ton Grocery Run, the project of Trevecca’s master’s of medicine (physician Assistant-PA) students, resulted in the collection of 6,000 pounds of groceries for residents of Urban Housing Solutions, a local nonprofit, low-income housing organization.
Health fairs and weekly health workshops for residents of Mercury Courts are semi-annual events hosted and conducted by Trevecca’s PA students. For persons in this Urban Housing Solutions facility, these fairs and workshops provide information and basic medical screenings.
Coats and philanthropy were the goals of two efforts, led by the Social Justice Club. They collected 481 coats for World Relief. Prior to the Christmas holidays, students conducted a fair trade sale that netted $1,400 for nonprofit organizations in Thailand, Guatemala, and Africa.
Caring for the environment—Science and Social Justice
Community beautification events are annual activities for all incoming freshman students, who provide their services to community non-profits, schools, neighborhoods, and community environmental projects. Developing solutions for environmental problems occupies Trevecca’s science students. They are cultivating plants to improve the environment and producing biodiesel fuel from cooking oil used in the University cafeteria.
Closing the achievement gap in public schools—Education
Preparing teachers specifically for service to urban children living in poverty is the goal of the newest master’s degree program in Trevecca’s School of Education. This program, which trains new teachers to accelerate student achievement in urban schools, seeks to restore social justice through education. Through the coordinated effort of the J. V. Morsch Center for Social Justice, Trevecca faculty and students from all academic disciplines are learning how to apply their learning to meet the presenting social needs in the Nashville community; to create a just world—the kind all persons want to live in.