- About the College
What is Social Justice?
Social justice is not a concept to define; it is an action to be taken.
Social justice is a call to action. It challenges individuals to work for the greater good of society as a whole.
The College for Public Health & Social Justice is committed to social justice as understood as:
-The creation of just relationships at all system levels.
-The development of structures that provide for equality of opportunity.
-The facilitation of access to needed information, services and resources.
-The support of meaningful participation in decision-making for all people.
This commitment is grounded in the ethic of the public health and social work professions. It is infused into all major components of the college, including our teaching, research and service.
Consistent with SLU's Jesuit mission of being men and women for others, our academic programs have a strong tradition of focusing on improving the lives of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable. As the only Jesuit college of public health in the nation, the College for Public Health & Social Justice is committed to educating the whole person, mind, body and spirit within the Jesuit tradition.
A Jesuit Foundation
The term social justice was first coined by Jesuit scholar Luigi Taparelli, S.J. in 1840 based on the teachings of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas believed that life was a union with God and that an individual's life must be ordered towards doing right things for the betterment of others.
Initially, the concept of social justice was thought of as an extension of the idea of justice within the context of a society as a whole as Taparelli was concerned with the social problems arising from the industrial revolution. To Taparelli, individuals within an industrialized society have the potential to only be concerned with individual gains rather than the equality and solidarity of society as a whole. He believed that Aquinas' teachings needed to be revived in order to maintain a socially just society that works for the greater good.
In 1995, the 34th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus set an agenda of social justice as a moral imperative for human rights, life, the environment, and interdependence in a global world (Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1995). Saint Louis University challenges faculty, staff, students, alumni, and our communities not just to learn about social justice but also to practice social justice in all aspects of their lives.