Author to speak at Day of Human Understanding March 5

Shippensburg University will celebrate its annual Day of Human Understanding March 5 with workshops, and several special events that reflect on diversity, inclusion and cultural competence. The programs are free and open to the public. 

Dr. Alice O’Connor, professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and director of the UCSB Washington Center program in Washington, D.C., will present the keynote address at 3:30 p.m. in Old Main Chapel. Her talk is “America’s Forgotten War: The Politics of Fighting Poverty From The Great Society to The New Gilded Age.” 

O’Connor will discuss the extended period when ending poverty was embraced as an official policy goal, and will describe the initiatives launched during this period that were broad in scope and that raised issues of equity and social justice that remain today. She teaches and writes about poverty and wealth, social and urban policy, and inequality in the United States. She has also written extensively about such topics as poverty and social policy. 

Two special events are also planned during the celebration. A silent auction will be held to raise funds for the Safe Harbour Homeless Shelter in Carlisle. Items will be on display in the Ceddia Union Building hallway outside the cafeteria from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The other event is the showing March 7 of the film Who Killed Chea Vichea? followed by a discussion with its producer Rich Garella on “Life and Death in a Fledgling Democracy.” The film starts at 6:30 p.m. in Grove Hall Forum.  

The day begins with a program at 8 a.m. in Ceddia Union Building 119 with a panel discussion on “Embracing Diversity in the 21st Century: A Panel Discussion on Immigration and Community Organizing.” Dr. Sara Grove, professor of political science, will present introductory remarks before the discussion. Panel members include Jessica Miller, parent coordinator for Title I and Title III at Chambersburg Area School District; Pete Lagiovane, mayor of Chambersburg; Diana Martes, executive director of the Chambersburg Hispanic American Center; Lilly Rodas, Americorps volunteer at the Chambersburg Hispanic American Center; and Dr. José Ricardo-Osorio, associate professor and chair of the modern languages department.

Breakout sessions will begin at 9:30 a.m. and continue through 3:15 p.m. The sessions, all in the CUB, are:  

  • 9:30 to 10:45 a.m.: “Homelessness.” Social work students Jill Cox, Elizabeth Olendorf, Robyn Ross and Jenna Simmons will discuss homelessness in Cumberland and Franklin counties.     
  • 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.: “Exploring class values and initiating cross-class dialogue.” Dr. Kathryn Newton, assistant professor of counseling and college student personnel, and Rachel Esterline, a counseling graduate student, will explore class values and review strategies for effective cross-class dialogue.     
  • 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: “Human trafficking — Exploitation for slave labor and sex.” Social work student Cheryl Hershey will review the issues with discussion about the ways consumers can use their purchasing power to influence elimination of forced labor and examination of dynamics that influence the severity and prevalence of labor and sex trafficking.
  • 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: “Experiential Learning on Poverty and Social Justice in Our Neighborhoods and Communities.” This session will be presented by Dr. Jerry Carbo, associate professor of management and marketing; Dr. Viet Dao, associate professor of accounting and management information systems; Dr. Steve Haase, associate professor of psychology; Dr. Ian Langella, associate professor of finance and supply chain management; and Petra Rueter, instructor in modern languages. The presenters will review poverty in Southcentral Pennsylvania and its impact on area residents.    
  • 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: “Race: The Power of an Illusion In The 21st Century: “The House We Live In” Part I,”  followed from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. by Part II of the presentation. The two-part sessions, presented by Nicole Monastra-Hewitt, instructor in social work/gerontology, will focus on how institutions shape and create race. The video “The House We Live In” will be shown as an introduction to the second session. 
  • 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.: “Breaking the Cycle of White Privilege in the Field of Accounting.” This program, presented by Dr. Patricia A. Patrick, associate professor of accounting, will review the demographic trends in accounting, and the educational and employment opportunities available to minorities.   
  • 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.: “Children in Poverty: The Case Of Gros — Mangles, Haiti.” Dr. Blandine Mitaut, assistant professor of modern languages, and Dr. Agnes Ragone, professor of modern languages, will use their personal experiences to look at poverty in the rural community of Gros-­Mangles, on the island of La Gonâve, and center on the issues faced by children in this remote area.   
  • 2 to 3:15 p.m.: “Conversations on disability.” Dr. Allison Carey, associate professor of sociology and anthropology; Dr. Marita Flagler, associate professor of social work and gerontology; and Dr. Cheryl Zaccagnini, associate professor of educational leadership and special education, will facilitate a panel of speakers who each have disabilities. The panel will include university students with disabilities and participants in People Involved Equally (a student group that works with adults with disabilities who live in the community). 
  • 2 to 3:15 p.m.: “Poverty looks like me.” Dr. Becky Ward, associate professor of teacher education, will explore the causes and consequences of poverty and work through an exercise designed to provide a glimpse into what it means to be poor in the U.S.  
  • 2 to 3:15 p.m.: “Dehumanization and the path to genocide.” Dr. Mark Sachleben, associate professor of political science, will explore how perpetrators of genocide willingly subvert human identity and discusses why people often “stand by” and allow this human rights tragedy to occur. 
  •  2 to 3:15 p.m.: “Minefield of Diversity: What will it take to get to the other side?” Presenting the session are Diane L. Jefferson, director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs; Shauntae Doughty, assistant to the director of the MSA office; Kapri Chase, graduate assistant in the MSA office; Sharicka Peters and MSA student leaders will highlight the impact of culture both in and out of the classroom while offering student leaders the opportunity to facilitate a common understanding with workshop participants.