Amnesty International educates freshmen
Amnesty International held its annual freshmen discussions to expose freshmen to various humans rights topics on Oct. 5-6.
These discussions are hosted annually by the Amnesty International Club, and focus on raising awareness about these topics and informing the students, so that students can begin to formulate their own opinions about current issues.
“Freshmen discussions were a great experience to be able to expose freshmen to current events and allow them to discuss openly about them,” club member and junior Brian Oh said.
Several members of Amnesty volunteered their time to introduce topics and facilitate the discussions. These topics included the refugee crisis, transgender bathrooms, the death penalty, black lives matter, NSA spying and the Zero Tolerance policy in schools.
“Overall, I thought that the Amnesty discussions were a great way to discuss topics that are not really discussed in real-world conversations,” freshman Ekas Chawla said. “These discussions helped me discover views on topics I would never have thought about.”
Discussion facilitators had to attend a preparatory meeting to rehearse acceptable topics and receive a crash course on guiding discussions.
“Our number one goal of the work we put into freshmen discussion is making sure people walk away informed about relevant human rights topics,” club president and senior Sam Adler said.
The discussions took place during all the freshmen history classes over the course of the two days. During this period, the freshmen were given a mandatory homework assignment where they researched human rights topics themselves. Then, in class, the moderators provided background information before the discussion began and gave Amnesty’s view, to provide a general idea of what Amnesty stands for, at the end of the discussion.
“It was interesting to see Amnesty’s point of view as well as our fellow classmates’ interpretation on current events throughout the world,” freshman Sreekar Kasturi said. “My favorite topic was the one on transgender policies for bathrooms in North Carolina.”
Many freshmen including Sreekar showed a deep interest in the Amnesty International discussions and next year, Amnesty hopes some new sophomores will fill the roles of this year’s upperclassmen and be able to lead the Amnesty discussions.