The Big Q
A dialogue on the big questions college students face.
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Monday, Oct. 12, 2015
Hello! My name is Kelly Shi. I’m a senior Philosophy major at Santa Clara University. As part of my major, I study a lot of ethics. Or at least enough to be allowed to blog about ethics. And as the writer of The Big Q, perhaps I should be embarrassed to be the one asking this question: “What is the Big Question?”
Could the Big Q simply be, “What is ethics?” Or maybe, “What is ethical?” Or even, “Does ethics matter at all?”
Say we actually do identify the Big Q. Now we’d have to find the answer to the Big Question: the Big Answer. And that is the part that truly matters. Or is it?
Here at The Big Q, we believe that questions about ethics are no less important than the answers. It’s the reason why this blog exists. Over the course of this year, we’ll explore and develop all kinds of questions as well as answers about ethical matters. We’ll share perspectives, challenge assumptions (especially our own), and grow to better appreciate the relevancy and complexity of ethical questions.
So here’s my Big Q for you: “Are you ready?”
Friday, Feb. 13, 2015
According to the Santa Clara University website, nearly half of our student body identifies as “white.” This statistic leaves proportionally small percentages to minority groups like Hispanics, Asians, and African Americans. There are only 166 African American students out of roughly 5,000 undergraduates.
The numbers made me think. College campuses need diversity. Diversity means change and tolerance. We learn from people with different backgrounds; these differences encourage collaboration and foster innovation. In fact, a study by Aaron Thompson, professor of sociology at Eastern Kentucky University notes that diversity:
- expands worldliness
- enhances social development
- prepares students for future career success
- prepares students for work in a global society
- promotes creative thinking
- enhances self-awareness
College marks a pivotal time in our young adult lives. During these four years, we should grow together. We should embrace and accept the beautiful differences in our friends, classmates, and coworkers—but, does SCU have an inclusive environment? The statistics and research prompted me to ask a couple Big Qs.
Do we consider our university to be accepting?
Does Santa Clara welcome diversity?
To present the question to the student body, I decided to turn to a popular discussion forum—YikYak. The smartphone application allows users to post anonymous, geo-specific “yaks” that other users can agree with (up-vote) or disagree with (down-vote), as well as comment. The app creates a safe space for discussion, free of judgment. A few days ago, I wrote, “Is SCU an accepting environment for minorities?”
My post received 15 responses, including the following:
One user responded with a short “nope.”
Another user wrote, “You’re not gonna get to participate in the hook-up culture but otherwise it’s chill.” His or her post received 22 up-votes.
“SCU is okay. Be prepared for all sorts of racist microagressions like the ones found in this thread tho.”
Several hours later, another user posted, “Will you get sh*t? Yes. Is it as bad as the schools in the south? No.”
What would you Yak?
Friday, Oct. 3, 2014
I’m a senior Finance major, Spanish studies minor from Phoenix, Arizona. Upon my first visit to Santa Clara, I was drawn to the university’s Jesuit education and emphasis on compassion and ethics. I like deep talks, long walks on the beach…but really, I do—I love picking apart the complex ethical issues that college students face. I’m excited to contribute to the Big Q this year, incorporating my passion for both writing and photography.
On-campus, you can often find me in the Business School building, Lucas Hall, running to and from meetings. In my spare time, I enjoy staying active and city life. I love exposure to new cultures, languages, and countries. Post-graduation, I plan to travel to South America before starting full-time at Apple as a finance associate in the fall.
Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014
Tony Williams is a Senior at SCU majoring in Sociology, with minors in Entrepreneurship and Japanese. He hails from the frigid tundra of Minneapolis, MN, where he grew up reading science fiction and staying inside as much as was humanly possible every winter. His primary interest, however, lies in Hip-Hop, where he is a well- known performer within the Minneapolis music scene as a member of the group "KILLSTREAK". Perhaps most notably, he created and performed a Hip-Hop mass in May 2014 at Minneapolis' Plymouth Congregational Church, a center of social advocacy and progressive faith.
Outside of music, Tony enjoys social justice work, video games, reading, and discussing contemporary ethical issues with anyone willing to listen to him for more than half an hour. After a long career of sidelining parties to discuss ethical conflicts of interest, he decided that he might as well get an internship that allowed him to discuss them on the clock. Jokes aside, he's thrilled to be working with The Big Q this year, both on their Twitter (Follow him at @bigqethics!) and on plans to bring a series of campus forums discussing ethical issues to SCU. He's thrilled to be engaging with a variety of ethical perspectives over the course of the next year, refining his own ethical compass and helping to make SCU a better place for everyone.
Saturday, Jun. 14, 2014
The Big Q sends best wishes to all students who graduated in 2014 and wishes a great summer to everyone who will be returning to school in the fall. We will be taking some time off during the summer, but will be back with more contests and cases at the return of the school year. In the meantime, check out some of our old cases about ethical issues students face in their everyday lives! Feel free to leave us your thoughts and opinions! Happy Summer Holidays!
Friday, Mar. 1, 2013
Patrick is a senior at SCU working toward a double degree in Economics and Philosophy. He is currently a Hackworth Fellow at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, founded and captained SCU's first Ethics Bowl team, and writes for the Center's new blog "Business Ethics in the News." Outside of school, Patrick competes in triathlons and martial arts competitions.
Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013
Chloe is a Seattle-area native and a senior at Santa Clara University, with a major in Sociology and a minor in Music. She currently works as one of the Big Q social media interns, and writes the posts for the blog. Chloe is also a part of the University Honors Program, a member of SCU's first Ethics Bowl team, former CMO of Kappa Alpha Theta, co-President of SCU A Cappella, co-leader of Supertonic!, a worship leader at her church, and the Campus Relations Coordinator for Core Christian Fellowship. Chloe will be graduating early in March, and is currently deciding where her post-college path will take her!
Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013
Alex is a senior Law and Social Justice/Psychology double major at Santa Clara University. She currently works as one of the Big Q social media interns and will be graduating at the end of March. Currently, Alex is also the public relations coordinator for the Multicultural Center, the New Orleans Spring break immersion coordinator, a Discover/Magis retreat leader, and a campus ministry intern. In June, she will begin working as a teacher for Teach for America in San Jose.
Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013
Anthony is currently a freshman at Santa Clara University, originally from Spokane, Washington.He is undeclared in the College of Arts & Sciences. He is involved with Into the Wild, our outdoors club; Christian Life Community, an organization through Campus Ministry; and event and activity planning for Unity RLC. In the fall, Anthony and a few friends worked to start SCU Snapshot, a photography club for beginners through experts.
Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013
Kaitlin is a senior at Santa Clara University. She is planning to graduate this June with a major in marketing and a minor in communications. She currently works in the Bronco Athletic Department, and is a member of the Triathlon Club and Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.