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Symposium Schedule





All day




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Environmental Stewardship Leads to Human Flourishing

We believe that as Christians we are called to a role as stewards of the earth, and when we fulfill our role as stewards of the earth it can lead to human flourishing. In 2 Peter it is written, "For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue" (2 Peter 1:5). We are to be virtuous in all aspects of our lives, but a big way that we can live this out is by caring for, respecting and loving the earth that God has created for us. This display shows ways that we as humans can implement sustainable practices in our lives to fulfill our roles as stewards of the earth. Included is a QR code linking to more sources, and informational videos to be a resource for individuals as they get involved in volunteer work and conservation efforts in order to contribute to care and restoration of the earth, which in turn provides a path toward human flourishing.

Participants: Renee Muir, Sophea Zaskoda, Olivia Martorelli

All day




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One of the biggest threats to human flourishing at the moment is poor waste management in developed countries, as well as poverty. This display is made from unrecycled bottles and trash from around the campus and community, used to create a life-sized family. Developing countries tend to have an 'out of sight out of mind' mentality when it comes to waste management. Their solution is simply to relocate the trash and recycling. The goal of these pieces is to bring light to how much waste can be produced and mismanaged in a short amount of time on campus. As Christians, we are called to be stewards of the resources we have been given. When we abuse our resources, we not only disrespect this earth but also lower the quality of life for our immediate and distant neighbors. The piece will be one of hope, not condemnation, and is meant to highlight ways we can improve as a community.

Participants: Rachel Corbin, Jackie Kuznicki, Alexander Ferris, Liam Davey, Richard Jegorow

*8-9 AM

KOSC 126


Environmental Justice: Human Flourishing or the Lack Thereof

Environmental justice can be described as protecting the right of all people to have access to clean air and water as well as the flourishing that comes with access to these vitally important things. We plan to cover certain areas where environmental justice lacks, to share with people the injustice felt by many due to unequal protection by the law when it comes to pollution control, exploitation of resources, and access to natural areas. This presentation addresses how we can all help in the fight for justice and why, as Christians, we should be fighting for others to have equal rights and protections.

Participants: Jalen Coyne-Martinez, Maggie Anderson, Fae Eisenheim, James Wheeler

*9-10 AM

KOSC 124




A Psychological Perspective on Human Flourishing: A Two Study Presentation and Discussion

This interactive session will take a survey of all attendees, using VanderWeele’s human flourishing questionnaire, followed by a brief presentation on human flourishing and a time for questions. Applying research methods, the presenters will focus specifically on the areas of routine and social media usage as they relate to human flourishing and will tackle the dual question: why is human flourishing important and what does it truly mean, in a psychological context?


Participants: Rebecca Manley, Rebecca Harper, Holly Desjareis, Naomi Frisch, Ellie Whiting, Ann Griffith

*9-10 AM

KOSC 127



Flourishing in Work: Finding Green Jobs of the Future

Many people are interested in careers in sustainability but are not aware of what is out there. Do you want to know about sustainable agriculture, ocean farming, sustainability directors, and adaptation specialists? What kinds of work in these areas will be available in the next few decades in a rapidly changing climate? As Christians, while caring for creation and preparing for lives of leadership worldwide we must consider the virtues behind our career paths. We should take into account what the state of the world might be when we enter our career field. In this presentation, Dr. Dorothy Boorse will speak about some of the big changes that are already unfolding in green jobs and what we can do to prepare for these sustainable careers, with a time of Q&A devoted to sustainability jobs and skills we may need for the future.


Participants: Dr. Boorse and Grace Powers

*10-11 AM

Coy Pond, Walking Trail


(Meet in KOSC Loggia before leaving for the trail)

Restore Creation
A Walk in the Woods: Birding

This walk provides an opportunity for all participants to get outside and experience the beautiful Gordon woods in a fun and unique way. We go outside to experience the beauty of God’s creation, which leads to a greater appreciation for all forms of life and the gift that God has given us through creation. We flourish through a gained knowledge of our surroundings and the creatures that God has gifted us to marvel at and steward. We also gain a knowledge of the biodiversity in this area through learning about the bird species in the Gordon woods and how God has so carefully designed intricate parts of nature for us to appreciate.

Participants: Katherine Hulting and Grace Powers

*10-11 AM

KOSC 125

Poetry as a Catalyst for Human Flourishing

In America’s post-post-modern age, the importance of poetry and its place in society is often overlooked. This presentation seeks to explain how both the reading and writing of poetry can help individual and communal flourishing today by giving a voice to the voiceless and allowing people to process painful events of their past. We will be discussing works of those such as Andrea Gibson, Matthew E. Henry, Terrance Hayes, Anne Sexton, Blythe Baird, and others, with the goal of introducing students and faculty to poetry and poets who use their art as a way to bring attention to both personal and communal suffering, whether that poetry is free verse, spoken word, structured, or even rap music.


Participants: Mary Stuart Murray and Maddie Miyares

*11-12 Noon  

KOSC 126

Church Accessibility to the Mental Struggles of Male Youth

Men's mental health is an often neglected subject. While certainly the needs of other genders, races, and people groups are important, this focus has come with a cast. Male patriarchal culture has caused immense issues to so many groups, yet the destruction to the male demographic has not been addressed. This presentation looks at the various dynamics and causes of this damage and how oftentimes churches, while offering a space where males can share, fail to offer guidance on how to share. Churches can reevaluate their models of ministry to create an environment that is welcoming and supportive of all mental health struggles.


Participants: Christian Celentano

*11-12 Noon  

KOSC 127

Tracing Government Responsibility

This series of 4-5 presentations focus on instances when the United States government has failed in some respect, be it to protect, enforce, or act efficiently. They reflect on specific events (9/11, the immigration crisis, the response to Hurricane Katrina, etc.) and highlight the failings of government in these instances, concluding with a short discussion of lessons learned from these failures as they relate to the theme of virtue. Ultimately, it is every citizen's responsibility to hold the government responsible and be aware of the events in one's own country. Then, and only then, can we stand up for virtue in our localities.


Participants: Students of American National Politics

*12-1 PM


BCA 131
Jensen Theatre
Une Vertu sur Deux in-situ

Une vertu sur deux in-situ (One Virtue of Two in Situ) presents the staged readings of seven short plays, none longer than ten minutes, all written by Gordon student playwrights and performed by Gordon actors, and all taking on the subject of virtue-and-flourishing. Each play will be introduced by the playwright, and each of the plays asks what one facet of flourishing looks like, and if virtue is the soil from which it grows. All of the plays are written to be spoken aloud, before an audience that speaks back. In that setting, in the Jensen Blackbox Theatre, these scripts flourish into a conversation.


Participants: Joshua Backert, Laura Caron, Micah Everette, Krissa Hill, Jasmine Lopez, Gail Maxwell, Delaney McDonnell, Makesha Mercedat, Maddie Miyares, Gina Ouellette, Maevis Small, Casey Terzakis, Kyle Vanicek, Mark Wacome Stevick, Jessica Richmond

*12-1 PM

KOSC 124

Student-Athletes and Mental Health

Student-athletes can come under tremendous pressure that can affect their mental well-being. Perfectionist tendencies, fear of not performing well, physical injuries, and academic pressures can all cause anxiety and depression. Student-athletes sometimes feel stigma about seeking help, fearful that they may not seem strong or competitive anymore. This panel will explore these problems and ways of providing resources and nurturing hope for athletes.

Participants: Dr. Jacobs, Isabelle Harper, Rachel Nelson, Jennifer Deckert, Emma DuBois

*1-2 PM


KOSC 125

Spiritual Disciplines and Forgiveness Through the Lens of Human Flourishing

This event will consist primarily of discussion, exploring various questions in both large and small group settings. We will begin with a review of the vices and the transforming power of spiritual disciplines, then take forgiveness as an example and explore multiple questions: When do people forgive and when do they not? Is there a difference between human forgiveness and God's forgiveness? What is the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation? In the process, discussions will cover Dr. Cook's research, the difference between decisional and emotional forgiveness, and the implications of living in an individualistic culture.


Participants: Dr. Kaye Cook and Abby Williams

*1-2 PM

KOSC 127

The Growth Mindset

Clarendon Scholars abide by five pillars of growth: personal growth, reconciliation and culture fluency, community engagement, leadership development, and professional and career development. This presentation and time of Q&A aims to showcase how these pillars have shaped Clarendon Scholars’ growth and leadership at Gordon and encourage Gordon students to grow and flourish in these areas as well.

Participants: Sofia Camejo, Victoria Barcelo, Dannielle Dominguez, Bethany Carsey, Ruth Cruz

*2-3 PM


KOSC 126

Welcome to the Neighborhood: The Ministry and Philosophy of Fred Rogers

In the world of Make-Believe, there is no war. In the world of Make-Believe, there is no racism. Fred Rogers’ world of Make-Believe transcends time. In Rogers’ world where there was a kingdom and a striped tiger who embodied the true nature of an inquisitive child, the child that remains in all of us, there was a space to debrief and process the brokenness in the world in which we live. Fred Rogers, the man in the iconic cardigan and dark blue Keds, is everyone’s favorite neighbor.


Participants: Makesha Mercedat

*2-3 PM

KOSC 109

Fowler Auditorium

JAF Post-Debate Discussion

Join us for a post-debate discussion of the 18th annual JAF debate on the resolution: “Disunity among Christians is the greatest obstacle to the work of the church.” Hear from the JAF participants about their debate experience, and get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the JAF debate process in this Q&A discussion of the topic and arguments.


Participants: Mario Aguirre, Michel Bayarjargal, Emily Butler, Maisey Jefferson, Jean-Edward Moise, Joan Ndekezi, Josh Peters, Leilani Schulting, Liam Siegler, Meghan Stephenson, Grace Sullivan, Libby Trudeau, Susan Wohlmuth

*3:15-4:15 PM


Jenks 237

Gregory Auditorium

Gordon Leaders Speak: Faith, Friendship, and Flourishing

The Gordon community is a humble precursor of the coming divine gathering of God’s people foretold in Revelation described by John the Elder as, “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” (Rev. 7:9). In the new heavens and new earth, Christ will reign supreme and peace and justice will be fully realized; however, how ought appointed leaders seek to promote peace in justice for God’s people in the present age? Every day, the Gordon community, which is intergenerational, interdenominational, and diverse along many other categories, comes together to discuss the most pressing issues of the 21st century. Residential students experience the added dimension of proximity as they eat, sleep, exercise, worship, and study alongside one another. Our conversation unites student leadership and College leadership to discuss how we seek to promote human flourishing on campus and how this may serve as a microcosm for the catholic church. We will draw upon the words of Jesus from John 8 when he says, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free.” It is from this foundation of disciple creating and Truth-seeking that the Christian liberal arts tradition draws upon and what we will invoke in our time together.


Participants: President Michael D. Hammond, Cameron Grinnell (President, GCSA), TeddyMax Talanoa (Executive Vice President, GCSA)

*3-4 PM


KOSC 125
The Sheikh’s Dilemma: Democracy and Dynasty in the Middle East’s Monarchies 

While many see them as a relic of the ancient past, authoritarian monarchies defy expectations and remain successful and relevant on the world stage today. Nowhere is this more true than in the Middle East. This presentation will explore the research surrounding the theory of monarchy as well as offer hypotheses for why monarchies such as the United Arab Emirates have remained wealthy and stable through the turbulent era of the Arab Spring and beyond.


Participants: Caileigh Treash

4-4:30 PM


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*4:30-5:30 PM


Chairman’s Room


Keynote Lecture:

A Well-Lived Life, What Virtue Can Teach Us About Happiness

Professor Trudy Summers, Acting Director of the Gordon Honors Institute, will give the keynote address for Symposium.


We all want to be happy. So say some philosophers, both ancient and modern. And so do the theologians, like Augustine and Aquinas. Positive Psychology has brought happiness and human flourishing to the forefront of psychological theorizing, captivating the imaginations of practitioners, researchers, and grant-makers like the Templeton Foundation.  Even the Scriptures speak to the subject in one of the most well-known passages of the Bible – the Beatitudes. But what is “happiness?” And where is it to be truly found? In freedom? In authenticity? In duty? In pleasure?  Aristotle says it is found in living well and doing well. But what does that mean? This lecture explores these questions and proposes to mine the long history of the virtue tradition looking for some possible answers.

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