Inaugural Princeton-KY Summer Ethics Institute Examines "Inequality"

Wednesday, Jun 6, 2018

(adapted from the UofL story)

Sponsored by the University Center for Human Values, the Princeton-Kentucky Summer Ethics Institute brought together students from Princeton and several Kentucky universities for intensive study of political philosophy and experiential learning on a weighty topic: the haves and have-nots of society.

Through academic study, field study, and service learning, the 20 participants explored various theories of what inequality is and why it matters and examined how inequality affects people across sectors of society and aspects of their lives such as housing, justice, and health.

In addition to the undergraduate participants, Joseph Moore, a third year philosophy graduate student served as Princeton's graduate administrative fellow, together with Carmen Mitchell, a University of Louisville (UofL) School of Public Health and Information Sciences doctoral student. Both Moore and Mitchell gave a guest lecture during one of the morning seminars held on campus.

Following the classroom learning, the students ventured out to various sites in Louisville, including Churchill Downs and the Backside Learning Center, an environmental justice tour, a meeting with the mayor and a civil rights history driving tour developed by UofL’s Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research. Central Kentucky tours took them to a Pathways Inc. health clinic, a horse farm and a distillery. Capping off the week was a Saturday service learning project, where students participated in repairs on a Louisville house, organized by the New Directions Housing Corp.’s Repair.

Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Politics and the UCHV, Anna Stilz, coordinated the Institute with UofL philosophy professor Avery Kolers . Additional faculty participants came from several UofL departments as well as Western Kentucky University, Eastern Kentucky University, and University of Kentucky. The faculty volunteered their time, and the students had an all-expenses-paid educational experience.

In October, the Kentucky students will travel to Princeton for a shortened session where they will learn from Princeton faculty, work on op-ed writing projects together, and visit a non-profit or community service organization(s) in Trenton, New Jersey, Stilz said.

The Institute “brings a lot of depth” to an academic experience, she added. “It adds a lot to your understanding. The students are fantastic.”

The Summer Institute was the first of its kind; organizers plan to gauge its impact and possibly offer future seminars, varying the topics annually to look at other questions about values in public life.