Photo provided by Tyler Jankowski: Students attend STAND meetings every Wednesday at 5:15 in the Morton Boston Room located in the Student Union.
Lauren Barnes, Asst. News Editor
Around 2004 a group of students and the Lewis University Minister wanted to organize a chapter of Amnesty International and over time those who were involved ended their membership with Amnesty because then became STAND.
STAND is, “a Catholic Relief Services Campus Ambassadors Program, advocates for human rights, and is committed to assisting the poor and vulnerable by promoting social justice and peace,” according to the STAND Facebook page.
This student organization provides opportunities for those to be part of an advocate for justice on campus and around the world. STAND aims to improve the conditions that our world goes through on a daily basis and considers itself a fun, high energy and creative environment.
“STAND is about empowering students to have a voice in this world, to use their natural gifts to make a difference, and to provide an opportunity to use what has been learned in the classroom in a powerful way,” said Adam Setmeyer, University Minister and Coordinator of Retreats and Social Justice Education.
STAND values the message of Jesus, the UN Declaration of Human Rights, Urgent Action and Creative Education. Focusing on social issues, this year STAND is tackling the issue of human trafficking programming events to educate the campus about it and advocate on behalf of individuals being trafficked. Every event that is hosted through this student organization has shown interactive ways to learn about the issues and support change.
“We still longed for a connection to something greater outside of Lewis University, and this year we began to work with Catholic Relief Services (the international relief organization run by the United States Catholic Church),” said Setmeyer.
The most recent event that STAND has hosted was ‘The Abduction Experience’ on Monday, March 18. This event consisted of five rooms where attendees were exposed to a series of events that told a story of abduction and sex trafficking. For more insight on this event read Shelby Ray’s article entitled “STAND brings The Abduction Experience to Lewis” in the online flyer at thelewisflyer.com.
“The goal of this event was to get knowledge about human trafficking out to Lewis students and staff,” writes Ray, first semester senior and broadcast journalism major. “Many people don’t really understand what happens and how this effects the abducted.”
STAND hopes to partner with other student organizations on campus to help promote justice in the areas that the student members are passionate about. As a University Ministry team, STAND organizes events on campus based with hope that justice is possible while trying to promote it all through God’s justice and reign here on earth.
“While STAND itself is faith based, I think one of the great gifts of STAND is that every single student is welcomed, and has felt welcomed to the group,” said Setmeyer.