Atlas Week Inspires and Informs Actions for Global Change
As part of SLU-Madrid's Atlas Week, dozens of events on campus focused on the theme, "Visions for Global Change: Start Where You Are." Faculty, staff and student groups organized panel discussions, debates, fairs, guest lectures and concerts to celebrate SLU-Madrid's international identity and commitment to bringing about positive change in the world.
Among the highlights of the week were the Poetry Reading in 17 Different Languages and the International Party. At the latter event, over 400 community members turned up to sample native delicacies from more than 20 different countries: pansit (a noddle dish) from the Philippines, Brazilian cakes, tortilla and salmorejo from Spain, and Nutella-filled crepes from France. The state of Ohio even had its own booth, serving peanut butter and chocolate buckeye bars! The grand finale of the evening was a live tango performance.
In addition to celebrating SLU-Madrid's diversity, the events focused on how we, as global citizens, can contribute to a better life for all people now and in the future. At the roundtable discussion, "Visions of Global Change: What is Meaningful Action Today," Brody Smith, who is studying abroad from SLU-St. Louis this semester, engaged in a meaningful dialogue about volunteerism. He commented:
What I most enjoyed about Atlas Week is that I was able to express my feelings about the fine line between helpful and hurtful volunteerism. Having been part of a disaster relief team that was in and out of communities and preparing myself for long term service in the Peace Corps, my reflection has lead me to a most perplexing position - that like everything else, the line is contextual. Will my two years in the Peace Corps be enough for the community I serve to take me in and allow me to work alongside them for a better life? If not, am I willing to commit myself more time? If so, to what extent and what if it is never enough? If not, did I plunder myself over to the hurtful side of volunteerism?
Dozens of students like Brody took part in Atlas Week events in an effort to increase awareness of global issues and encourage action. Challenging us to be men and women for others, the program urged our community live out our Jesuit values.