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As an Episcopal Church school, St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes believes that we need to examine the way that “goodness”—key to the School’s mission—is manifested outside our campus. The Colloquium for the Common Good will be a day of learning and deep thinking around some of the most challenging and important social issues of our day. Students will have the opportunity to participate in several of 35 dynamic workshops led by community leaders and changemakers, as well as SSSAS faculty and alumni.

Colloquium Schedule

 
8:05 a.m. Opening Session and Keynote Address
9:30 a.m. Session 1
10:30 a.m. Session 2
11:30 a.m. Session 3
12:15 p.m. Lunch
1:15 p.m. Advisory
2:15 p.m. Closing Session


Colloquium Organizers

KiKi Davis     
Director of Institutional Equity and Diversity

Director of Environmental Stewardship

Director of Service Learning and Community Engagement
 

Keynote Address


Dr. Marcia Chatelain from Georgetown University will kick off the day with the keynote address, "At Your Age: Making a Difference Then, Making a Difference Now." Students will conclude the afternoon with reflections in small groups, considering how their minds and hearts were introduced to the opportunities awaiting them in the future.

Colloquium Workshops

Theatre as a Tool for Social Change
Presenter: Lori Pitts

Session: 1

Explore a theatrical way of advocating for positive social and political change in this hands-on workshop! Theatre of the Oppressed is a type of theatre where the line between artist and audience is blurred and all become active participants in the creation and performance of the work. During this workshop, you’ll explore the games, techniques, and ideas behind Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed. Artists and non-artists alike can use this approach to understand issues in their community and seek to improve them through theatre.
Sounds of a Movement: Jazz and Civil Rights
Presenter: Vaughn Ambrose

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

"Jazz and Civil Rights," will help our students better understand how we can use our artistic abilities and voices to effect change among our society. How can a simple melody or verse become the anthem for an oppressed group of individuals? The session will also focus on how society influenced art and how artists used their platform to be champions for their cause.
Speak Up: Disability Rights & Advocacy
Presenter: Eva-Elizabeth Chisolm

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

For generations, people with intellectual disabilities have been ignored, left out, and spoken for. L’Arche aims to change that by advocating with people who have intellectual disabilities for the rights and dignity they deserve. Advocacy can mean working to change policies to give core people more freedom, calling a reporter to help illuminate systemic problems, or calling an insurance company and spending an hour on the phone. Most often, advocacy means asking questions and listening to the answer, then joining our voices together to speak up for change.
CBF Student Leadership – Advancing Advocacy, Action, and Awareness
Presenter: Megan Fink

Sessions: 1, 2 ,3

Use your voice to help improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay along with your local rivers and streams! Learn about the biggest issues facing our Watershed and get inspired by examples of successful student advocacy. Join us as we find ways to raise our voices to speak for this national treasure which cannot speak for itself! Explore how to effectively advocate for future generations of watershed residents and for environmental issues that matter to you.
Taking Steps to Undertstand Privilege: A Privilege Walk Activity
Presenter: Karen Kunz and Ron Ginyard

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

The purpose of the Privilege Walk Activity is to learn to recognize how power and privilege can affect our lives even when we are not aware it is happening. The purpose is not to blame anyone for having more power or privilege or for receiving more help in achieving goals, but to have an opportunity to identify both obstacles and benefits experienced in our life. It is an opportunity to understand the intricacies of privilege and to explore the ways that we enjoy privileges based on being members of social identity groups in the United States. This activity begins silently and ends in a group discussion facilitated by two experienced Administrators. The activity touches on many personal identifiers, but because it is a silent activity, your actions are not questioned and you are never asked to defend your choices. This activity often elicits feelings of discomfort and emotion. Expectations of confidentiality and self care are emphasized.
Journalism for Justice: Telling Stories to Effect Change
Presenter: Jill McElroy

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

The power of words and stories to affect change can’t be overstated. Journalism has changed lives, changed politics, and changed the course of history. Giving voice to the underrepresented is journalism's best success, and thanks to social media, the potential for stories to be impactful and far reaching is increasing. Investigative reporters tackle subjects like criminal justice, drug policy, mental health services, housing segregation, homelessness, poverty, immigration, and gender inequality, just to name a few.
How to Activist: Collaborating for Change
Presenters: David Yee and Kate Hardwick

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

We wish to provide students the time to educate themselves on the topics they see in the news, and, most importantly, provide them with the time with each other so that they can collaborate for change. Inspired by our final project in Human Rights and Activism I, students will engage in an issue of their choosing in an abbreviated version of the design-thinking process to create ethical solutions. By modeling engagement through education and listening, we hope students can see that not all modes of “help” are equal, and that the needs of those they wish to serve are paramount.
Environmental Justice: How Where You Live Can Kill You
Presenters: Sacoby Wilson and Jan-Michael Archer

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

Environmental justice is defined as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of communities across the country that do not receive equitable treatment of environmental resources (such as healthy air, water, green space) and instead receive much higher exposures to environmental hazards such as pollutants. This workshop presented by a team from the University of Maryland discusses how this issue impacts our region as well the steps towards activism and action that students can take to combat injustices.
Cartooning with a Purpose
Presenter: Jim Toomey '79

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

Jim Toomey draws the popular comic strip Sherman’s Lagoon, which appears daily in over 250 daily newspapers, including the Washington Post. The strip’s underwater theme explores environmental issues in a way that appeals to both adults and children alike. Using live drawing, Mr. Toomey will demonstrate how he draws his comic strip, and will discuss how he finds a balance between entertainment and education in his work.
Homosexuality and the Bible - Re-reading the Story of Sodom
Presenter: Scott Strednak Singer

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

Some Christian communities have cited the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 18:16-19:29) as proof of God's disdain for homosexuality. However, many scholars argue that this interpretation is historically inaccurate. More importantly, it can be psychological harmful to the LGBTQI community. Like other biblical narratives, the story is one of God's judgement against those who abuse the poor and needy. Join us as we discuss alternate readings of this text and how they can help us to understand Christian responsibility to show love and hospitality to all marginalized communities.
With Open Arms: Supporting Refugee Families in Alexandria
Presenter: Kim Scott

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

This session will address refugee resettlement specific to Alexandria. We will talk about welcoming the stranger which reflects our values as an Episcopal school community- part of our identity is being a welcome and inclusive community. What does it truly mean to be a good neighbor?
Fairness vs. Justice: A case study presented by a former prosecutor
Presenter: Alexander Robinson

Session: 1, 2, 3

Understanding the common good (what is suitable for everyone in society) requires knowing how to treat people in society. As citizens we all must know right from wrong. But we also must be able to distinguish what is fair from what is just -- a question that is addressed in our laws and legal procedures. It is also lived out by law enforcement and all those involved with the court system. This interactive discussion/seminar will use several recent cases to demonstrate our society distinguishes fairness from justice.
Rising Waters: Climate Change is coming to Washington, D.C.
Presenter: Jason Samenow

Session: 1

This workshop examines the long-term impact of climate change on the Washington, D.C. region in the decades ahead, as well as other environmental factors that will challenge the long-term stability of the mid-Atlantic region.
Showing Up for Racial Justice in the Right Ways
Presenter: Jason Biehl

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

This workshop examines the concept of allyship and also provides concrete ways for youth of all races to be involved in racial justice work.
The Democratic Republic of Congo: More than a Paradox of Plenty
Presenters: Rebecca Cooper and Patricia Lokwa Servant

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

In this session, students will explore the bountiful resources found above and below the ground in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and examine our dependence on these resources in both the past and present. Is our dependence merely a point of connection or are we complicit in the exploitation of the Congolese people and the degradation of their land? How can students in the United States address issues of child labor, sexual and gender based violence, and armed conflict in DRC that are exacerbated by Congo’s material richness? What are responsible and appropriate forms of activism that safeguard Congolese agency and amplify Congolese voices?
Hate Speech = Protected Speech?
Presenter: Bud Garikes

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

In the current political environment many Americans are engaged in robust political debate. Students may be well served to know what views can be shared and when words step over a line. This session will examine both of these.
Before Columbus: Misconceptions about Early American Peoples
Presenter: Erin Lee

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

This session will share some of latest research about the people that lived here before 1492 and our stereotypes and entrenched view of what life here was like. Students will gain an increased understanding of Native American history and to work towards not perpetuating outdated research about who lived here before European exploration.
Ordinary People Making Extraordinary Differences: Advocating for the rights of women and girls education around the world
Presenter: Renifa Madenga

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

After a brief introduction about the Chibok girls who were abducted by Boko Horam and held in captivity, this session will include a presentation to generate a dialogue about the actions taken by ordinary people to positively impact communities. The session will examine how advantages and disadvantages occur due to illiteracy in armed conflict.
When Tech Discriminates: Hidden Bias in Artificial Intelligence and Algorithms
Presenter: Colleen McNeil

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

This eye opening session will examine recent case studies and your own digital experiences for examples of sexism, racism, and other toxic implications of technology. Participants will be better prepared to make informed decisions about the services that they use, and learn ways to demand more from the companies that provide them.
Magic: A Window into Implicit Bias
Presenter: Bob Weiman

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

In this session students will learn about how magicians use psychology and a deep understanding of perception to manipulate their audiences. This same framework is then applied to implicit or unconscious bias in order to give students a better understanding about why this occurs and how it can lead to stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. We will then discuss strategies for countering implicit/unconscious bias.
Photographing the President of the United States
Presenter: Pete Souza

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

This session will project behind-the-scenes photographs of President Barrack Obama and President Ronald Reagan and talk about the importance of creating a visual archive for history. A block of time will be allotted for students questions and answers.
Direct Action Environmentalism: To Monkeywrench or Not to Monkeywrench?
Presenter: Andy Sidle '78

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

After the dawn of the modern environmental movement in the 1960s, several groups emerged that wanted to fight for environmental justice by interacting with business entities they deemed as harmful to the environment. Greenpeace harassed whaling ships, The Sea Shepherd Society sank whaling ships, EarthFirst! activists "spiked" trees in old growth forests, etc. In this session we will explore the history of those groups and discuss their efficacy and ethics. Are they right or wrong, and do they make a difference in protecting the planet from predatory business interests?
Life unscripted: From a family’s crisis to a national non-profit
Presenters: Victoria Sardi Brown, Peter Brown, Ann Henshaw

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

Life does not always go as expected or even as we hoped. Yet when faced with a crisis and a loss, how do we cope? What do we do? Through role plays, team games, and thoughtful participant discussion, you will have the opportunity to hear our childhood cancer story, learn about the development and work of the Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation, and strategize ways for teens to get involved in supporting our mission to help children with cancer.
The Local Housing Crisis- Meeting the needs for a diverse and inclusive community
Presenter: Carmen Romero

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

Housing is the most basic human need in our society. However, finding an affordable place to live has become a local crisis with Arlington and Alexandria having lost 85-90% of their affordable housing options over the last two decades. What income does it take to rent an apartment in Arlington and Alexandria? Who is left out by that math? What impact might Amazon HQ2 have on this problem? This session will inform students about this critical issue, highlight some best practices and give students some ideas of philanthropic opportunities to get involved in solutions to this social problem.
Living with the Gangs: Everyday Life in El Salvador
Presenters: Elizabeth Peckham and Christine Gasper

Session: 1, 2, 3

This workshop will discuss the impact of gang violence on daily life in El Salvador. We will explore the ways in which gangs like MS-13 and Calle 18 not only spread violence and instability, but also make it harder for ordinary people to go to school, run a business, and raise their children. 
More than an Athlete? The Re-emergence of the Athlete-Activist Hybrid.
Presenters: Milyna Phillips and Bernard Joseph

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

In the past couple of years, the re-emergence of athlete activism has manifested itself in many ways: silent to physical protest, outspoken to more nuanced. Athletes such as Colin Kaepernick were villainized by the NFL who will be reckoning with his protests into the future. Conversely, LeBron James opens a school for low income families, NBA players wear "I Can't Breathe" shirts without much negative backlash. Female athletes, such as Billy Jean King and the Williams sisters have been fighting for equity in pay for generations. What other ways could athletes effect social change? What obstacles are at work for athletes? Can they be successfully overcome, if so, how? Anecdotally, has one method appeared more efficient at effecting positive change than others?
A picture is worth a thousand words; of protest.
Presenter: Joey Wade

Session: 1 and 2 (covers two sessions)*

This session will share how artist from all over the world use art to try shine a light on oppression, to speak out about inequalities, to make the world “see” themselves in different ways. Students will have an opportunity to create their own work to protest an issue that is important to them. *This session will be 90 minutes long.
Faith and Advocacy: The How, What, Why, and Where
Presenter: Lacy Broemel

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

How do your personal beliefs or your faith inspire you to engage in advocacy? Did you know the Episcopal Church has an office dedicated to advocacy? And how can we all be better at listening and talking with civility while advocating for justice? We will cover this & much more in our workshop!
Changing the Narrative: Examining Homelessness and Housing Justice in Alexandria
Presenter: Blair Copeland

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

This session will examine some of the socioeconomic reasons for homelessness and how students can view the homelessness from a wider lens. Additionally, we will examine the ways to become involved in philanthropy and advocacy for the homeless.
The Problem with Plastic: Exploring the Impacts of Plastic Pollution on Waterways and Wildlife
Presenter: Elenor Hodges

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

This workshop examines the impacts of plastic pollution on our oceans, waterways, and wildlife. EcoAction Arlington, a community nonprofit organization, has led service projects to clean Four Mile Run for 40 years. Volunteers track the most common types of litter in Four Mile Run as part of a worldwide initiative organized by the Ocean Conservancy. This year, the Plastic Free Challenge engaged residents in reducing their plastic footprint. We will discuss the types of pollution entering our waterways, the impacts of plastic pollution, and individual, government and business solutions that make a difference.
Illustrating Your Point
Presenter: Alden Leonard '04

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

Across politics and media, there's a lot to react to today. But in this age of too much information, how do you make a point that sticks? By visualizing your point. In this session, we'll explore visual communication, then create illustrations that make powerful statements about topics you care about.
Life on a burning planet: Caring for creation in the Anthropocene
Presenters: Robert Dilday and Weston Matthews

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

The impact on climate change of humanity's relentless burning of fossil fuels has reached a critical stage, and the results are becoming apparent: more severe hurricanes, rising seas, increased drought, more frequent wildfires. Among those most undermined are marginalized communities around the world and in the United States. What does environmental justice look like in the Anthropocene Age?
A Stubborn Hope: Empowering Tomorrow's Leaders To Lead Today
Presenter: Daniel Meyer

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

The choice between right and wrong commands a lot of our attention. But most of us are rarely choosing between pure good and pure evil. Instead, we’re existing in the gray area between, trying to do the best we can with what we got. Young people today receive a lot of criticism. Too self-obsessed. Too sensitive. Too delicate. But they are also the first generation in the history of the world that has made clear to adults that they will not just stand by, keep quiet, and wait to be leaders of the future. They prefer to speak out and they demand to be heard. They insist on leading today. So what does social leadership look like for people too young to hold positions of power but too “woke” to sit around waiting for the world to change? This session helps you answer that question and become leaders of the NOW.
Blurring the lines: The intersection of race and sports
Presenter: Rhiannon Walker '11

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

This presentation will focus on why diversity in sports media matters now more than ever. Diversity in background, thought, upbringing, socioeconomic status, education, race, religion, gender, sexuality, age, etc. As it is right now, sports writers are 90 percent white men. That is nowhere near representative of the leagues these individuals are covering or the readership of the teams. Yet, time after time, when conversations arise about how to improve diversity, the numbers rarely ever change. I will discuss why the numbers need to be better, how they can improve, and what readers and players stand to gain from there being more diverse in the writing and editing ranks. Where does the industry suffer by looking so monolithic, what have been some avoidable mistakes made because there was a lack of diversity? Sports writing has so much room to grow if it would only open its doors up to new faces, so how and what does that look like moving forward. I'll discuss stories I worked on such as the Major League Baseball manager's project that came to fruition as a result of what I'm discussing above.
Human Trafficking in The United States: The 21st Century Abolition Movement
Presenter: Autumn Vandehei

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

Human Trafficking is a global scourge. From the Labor trafficking of children in India, to sex tourism and the exploitation of children in Southeast Asia, world citizens must be educated on 21st century slavery so that they can be part of prevention and abolition efforts. US citizens are largely unaware that it happens here too, and it is imperative that young people are educated so that they know what it looks like, who is at risk, and what can be done. This workshop will give an overview of human trafficking in the United States, and hear the story of the speaker's organization's campaign against Craigslist.com and Backpage.com. Learn how a small group of underfunded anti-trafficking advocates went up against tech giants Google and Facebook, and succeeded in changing federal laws with a groundbreaking documentary about human trafficking in the US, called "I Am Jane Doe."
Exploring the Superhero Inside Us
Presenter: Vishavjit Singh

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

We are each unique and different from everyone else on the planet. We all have our respective combination of strengths and vulnerabilities. There is a superhero potential inside each one of us: not one with big muscles and tights, but one with big heart and insights. To be agents of change and becoming better versions of ourselves, we need to tap into the well of our vulnerabilities. We will get to reflect on this well of changeful possibilities in this workshop.
Goods for the Greater Good
Presenter: Alexandra Shaw '10

Sessions: 1, 2, 3

Retailers send billions of dollars of brand new product (returned, overstocked, and unsold items) to landfills every year. How can these goods be used for the greater good? Good360 helps companies resolve the business challenge of responsibly distributing excess goods for maximum impact, and, in doing so, helps our partners deliver on their own important missions, reduce waste, and build resilient communities. In this session, we will discuss the challenges that nonprofits face in meeting the needs of donors, the environment, and their local communities as well as how the modern nonprofit can leverage social innovation to survive in a crowded industry.
Our Religious Response to Climate Change
Presenters: Joelle Novey and Laura Long

Sessions: 1, 2 , 3

Where does our electricity come from, what is it doing to our world, and how can communities like ours respond? In this workshop, join the staff of Interfaith Power & Light, a grassroots organization through which hundreds of congregations of many faiths across Northern Virginia and the DC area are working together to address climate change as a way of caring for our neighbors. Learn about some of the hopeful ways congregations across our region are shifting to cleaner power, and about how you can join them!
JK-12 coed Episcopal day school in Alexandria, Virginia

Campuses

List of 3 items.

  • Lower School

    Grades: JK-5
    400 Fontaine Street
    Alexandria, Virginia 22302
  • Middle School

    Grades: 6-8
    4401 West Braddock Road
    Alexandria, Virginia 22304
  • Upper School

    Grades: 9-12
    1000 St. Stephen's Road
    Alexandria, Virginia 22304