Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership

What People are Saying about Kalamazoo College's Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership

Donald R. Parfet, Chair, Kalamazoo College Board of Trustees

This college has an unwavering commitment to educating leaders, educating global leaders, educating leaders to assume leadership in very enlightened ways that no other institution can approach. What the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership will offer is a deeper, more disciplined approach to explore social justice and furthermore, to create an enlightened approach to disseminating social justice after the Kalamazoo College experience. I couldn't be more excited about what this Center has to offer, not just for our students but for our society.

Eileen B. Wilson-Oyelaran, President, Kalamazoo College

I think this is an incredibly exciting time for Kalamazoo College. The Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership will provide us with an opportunity to enhance our visibility, for us to attract some of the most curious students who really want to make a difference in the world, who want to think deeply about the dimensions of leadership, the responsibilities of leadership, and also in the words of [former Kalamazoo College President] Alan Hoben, how to take the discipline and the spirit of a scholar to make the world somewhat better.' This gift will enable us to take that opportunity to a higher level.

Eric Staab, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, Kalamazoo College

Kalamazoo College for 175 years has been providing excellent educational opportunities. What I find very satisfying about the Arcus Center, is that it doesn't feel like it's an add-on to the institution, it feels like it's part of the puzzle and will fit very nicely into the College's mission and the K-Plan. At Kalamazoo College, we do more in four years so students can do more in a lifetime. The Arcus Center provides yet another opportunity for students to do more. That's thrilling. That's exciting.

Jaime Grant, Executive Director, Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, Kalamazoo College

The Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership advances social justice and human rights by nurturing, developing, supporting, educating leaders at all stages of practice – undergraduates to veteran leaders. It starts with the K-Plan. I think that combination of really serious scholarly rigor and applied learning is the core of it. It's a very dynamic process. Whether it's impacting a course, a service-leaning program, a program that the chaplain's office wants to put together, it's a very creative way of thinking about education. And there's not a sense of "us up on the hill dictating something." Community partners are forming the questions and forming the agendas for 'K' students in terms of what they're going to do in the field.

Lisa Brock, Academic Director, Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership

The Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership is a great fit for Kalamazoo College because 'K' College is already known for innovative, leading initiatives. The Center is beginning already to take a leadership role in higher ed. Just by our existence, we are already intriguing to other institutions and people in other institutions who are asking: 'What are you doing there in Kalamazoo? What are you doing with this center for social justice leadership?' I've gotten questions like that from people all over the country, and as I explain what we're doing, they're like, 'Wow, that is something!'

John C. Dugas, Senior Arcus Chair, Social Justice Leadership in Political Science

What makes the Arcus Center unique is precisely the fact that it contributes a focus on leadership. It's going to be something years from now when we'll be able to look back and say, 'Ah, these are the leaders today that are working to enact real, lasting change in our communities, in our country and around the globe, and they were influenced precisely because of the experience that they had at the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership.'

Kiran Cunningham '83, Kalamazoo College Professor of Anthropology, ACSJL Faculty Fellow

What is "enlightened leadership" if not, at least in part, leadership grounded in social justice? In many ways, the kind of education offered at Kalamazoo College is very consistent with this move to a more explicit focus on social justice. Our commitment to international/intercultural learning, our rich tradition of and commitment to integrating experiential learning into our educational programs, and the value we place on research and teaching at the point of praxis all set us up to be innovative trailblazers in this area within higher education.

Mariah Hennen '15, Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership Scholar

Obviously Kalamazoo College has a great academic program, but I think the Arcus Center adds another aspect of what it means to be a leader and how to create leaders. I think the Arcus Center and my social justice work here will definitely fit into my plan. I would like to work in a nongovernmental organization eventually after college and I think that a lot of leadership roles I'll have through the Arcus Center, and a lot of the work that I'll have done with community members, will really have prepared me to work with the larger community outside of Kalamazoo.

Colin Lauderdale '14, Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership Scholar

The Arcus Center definitely does not put a definition of social justice on you. They're not pushing any particular wording of what social justice is, and I think that absolutely, definitely they are working with students, K community members, and student leaders to facilitate their growth, envisioning that just world that they'd like to work toward. And not just envisioning it, but also developing the tools to make it happen, and developing, really, the optimism.

Karika Phillips, Health Equity Coordinator, Kalamazoo County Government

It takes more than just money to move issues of social justice. It also takes people. I believe the Arcus Center for Social Justice is an asset to the greater Kalamazoo community on two fronts. The first is we have a place within an academic institution that is far reaching. It brings in leaders, it brings in speakers. But it also aims to engage leaders locally. The second is working with the College's Mary Jane Stryker Center for Service Learning. That combination for me and my work has been dynamic.

Suprotik Stotz-Ghosh '95, Community Investment Officer, Kalamazoo Community Foundation

The Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership is a wonderful expression of where Kalamazoo College's strengths are as an organization and elevating it to the next level, building on our long history of inviting people to this campus who believe in being globally aware citizens and preparing people to make positive change in their communities. And I think the Arcus Center is going to help draw more resources into the community. I'm very excited about what's going to emerge from this.

David Stern, Executive Director, Equal Justice Works

Today, in a society with so much inequity and blood boiling injustice, we need social justice leaders who are able to fight very complex battles. The good news is that the pipeline is full to overflowing with potential social justice leaders who are ready to tackle these problems, but they need the training and support to be effective. The Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership is right on time.

Cary Alan Johnson, Executive Director, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

We need social justice leaders who are able to look at the big picture and fight very complex battles. We need human rights defenders who are active can create change at multiple levels--family, community, nationally and globally. In its approach and its scope, the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership is right on time.

C. Nicole Mason, Ph.D., Executive Director, Women of Color Policy Network

Our country is at a critical crossroads. What happens over the next two generations will be key to the health and well-being of our society and unlocking the answers to many of the toughest challenges of our time. The Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership will play an essential role in preparing the next generation of public service leaders who will use research, advocacy, and action to create change large enough to alter the life chances and outcomes of the most vulnerable in our society. The Arcus Center will be an incubator for inspired praxis and thought. It will harness and nurture the best ideas and thinking for how to solve our most pressing social problems—from poverty to racial injustice—and unleash them for others to engage and to take up in real ways.