March 12, 2014
By Vesna Brajkovic
Six different groups, normally with six different missions, will team up for a week to share one common goal: awareness.
Justice Week, which started March 10 and runs through March 13, is a collaborative event of several of the justice organizations that will come together in order to raise awareness on various topics throughout the week.
Cassie Steiner, president of Freedom Force, a group dedicated to bringing change and awareness about modern-day slavery and human trafficking, said she saw the lack of collaboration between the different student organizations and dedicated the semester to changing that.
She said although they all have different missions, they all can come together to “spark conversation” between the groups and throughout campus.
“People who are involved, stay involved,” Steiner said. “Students and community members who care about one cause will generally be active in the community and continue to use what they learn. So, I think that by working together we can know what one another are doing and we can be engaged.”
Each day of the week is dedicated to showcasing a different student organization’s cause.
Take Back The Tap, a campaign aiming to end the sale and distribution of single-use plastic water bottles, started Justice Week by tabling in the University Center. They offered students the option to trade in their disposable water bottles for a reusable one and had them take a water taste test between well-water, tap water, and bottled water.
Empower, who also tabled in the University Center on Monday, is a student organization dedicated to raising awareness of micro-lending. They spoke to students about poverty alleviation and how their partnership with kiva.org has helped many people through micro-lending.
Micro-lending is the act of given smaller loans to riskier businesses with low income.
“I think [Justice Week] is important because these are all global problems,” president of Empower Nathan Perry said. “I don’t think people realize that there’s poverty problems in the U.S., and there’s people that need a small amount of dollars to help their business out. I think that through all these different organizations, we’re all making a difference, not just locally but globally. Empower was happy to participate because of that.”
Although most of the organizations decided to table in the University Center to get the most traffic, Freedom Force set up an interactive information day in Room 259B in the University Center.
The room had a path of footprints where students could walk through and see informational displays of different countries explaining how different parts of the world are affected by slavery. In order to connect it back to the students, the path ends with some information about how slavery impacts Milwaukee.
SAGE, a student organization dedicating to promoting the interest of sustainability and raising awareness of environmental problems, is tabling on March 12, in the University Center and focusing on the negative impacts of fracking.
SAGE President Cameron Barker decided to focus on fracking for Justice Week because of all the attention it has gotten in the media lately.
Fracking is the process of extracting natural gas from shale rock layers deep within the earth.
“I’ve seen a lot of ads recently on natural gas on how it’s a clean source for America, and I think a lot of people don’t realize that there’s an added negative to that situation,” Barker said.
Justice Week will end on March 13, with student organizations PEACE and ISA teaming up to raise awareness of the protests in Venezuela and promoting the ‘I Care Because… Movement,’ which encourages students to support the people of Venezuela despite being so far away.
At the end of the day on March 13, all the organizations will come together for a “mingle” in Hyland 1312 from 5 to 7 p.m. to play games and reflect on what they’ve learned.
Any other justice-related organizations, as well as any students interested in the causes are invited to attend.
“We all have the same goal of trying to bring awareness to things that not necessarily a lot of students on campus know about,” Barker said. “We all use the same strategies, so working together on an event like this can help us find better ways to reach the campus.”