By Sophie Webb, Features Editor
On Tuesday, Nov. 1, Haverford College hosted the very first Ethics Lunch, located in the Pendle Hill Room at Haverford’s Dining Center.
The lunch brought together a small group of bi-co community members, including students, professors, and faculty. The focus for the inaugural gathering was “the ethics of service and volunteerism.” Haverford student María Padrón ’19 and Executive Director of the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship, Eric Hartman, led the discussion, both beginning with a brief commentary on their personal expertise and experience.
The Ethics Lunch is an initiative created by Adam Rosenblatt, professor and Coordinator for the Peace, Justice, and Human Rights Department at Haverford, that utilizes funds given to the college to “sponsor ethical engagement and leadership.” Rosenblatt explained that he was inspired to create the ethics lunch because he sees it as an opportunity for students and faculty to interact outside of the classroom environment. He believes that “there is not enough space for people to just talk to each other,” and through the ethics lunch, hopes to create a casual environment that will foster conversation.
Padrón spoke about her experiences during a ten-week summer internship at a residential care center in San Marcos, Nicaragua. She was quick to discuss some of the aspects of her internship that she felt were problematic, explaining that it took more than half of her time in Nicaragua before she felt like she knew the children and the community well enough to actually engage and be involved. She also talked about the more general difficulties of short-term volunteerism and how she sometimes felt unqualified to do anything useful.
Hartman followed Padrón and spoke more broadly about some of the issues that arise when students from elite and privileged colleges, such as Haverford, venture into the global community to do service or rights work. He explained the importance of helping students create opportunities in which they can engage with the world in the most effective and respectful ways possible.
After Padrón and Hartman spoke, the conversation was opened to the larger group, giving people the opportunity to ask questions and share their own experiences and reasons for attending the ethics lunch. The goal of the ethics lunch is for it to be a recurring event, so keep your eyes peeled for news of further gatherings.