The Ethics Symposium

The Rotary Club of Erie Ethics Symposium proposes to actively engage high school juniors in Erie County in discussions on a variety of hot button ethics issues that effect them and to foster students' ethical decision making as they prepare to leave home and enter college or the workplace.  The basis for this ethical decision-making process, and indeed, for the entire event, is Rotary's Four-Way test.

The target audience for the symposium is high school juniors from all 19 public and private schools across Erie County.  Attendance is targeted at 10 students per school for up to 190 students.  The Rotary Club's primary partner is the Evelyn Lincoln Institute for Ethics & Society at Mercyhurst University, which provides:

  • A gathering place for all students
  • Classrooms for breakout sessions
  • Parking and security
  • Potential speakers / session leaders; some are Mercyhurst faculty and others are from the community
  • Assistance in promoting the event and finding co-sponsors such as neighboring colleges, corporate donors, hospitals, law firms, etc.

Gannon University students from the Schuster Theatre, written by Father Shawn Clerkin, Director of Theatre, present a dramatic play to the juniors about ethical scenarios they may face every day in school and at home.  This gets their “heads in the game” and is discussed at length during the first breakout session where we introduce the Rotary Four-Way Test.  Mercyhurst College ethics students create two case studies especially for participants to discuss in the second session.

The Ethics Symposium is designed to help students improve their ability to make ethical choices.  Specifically, students will learn about ethical decision-making skills for application in their daily lives.  In addition, it has become an effective fundraiser, with interested sponsors not only funding all the students’ scholarships to the event, and all activities, but beginning in 2013, one participant each year will be awarded a full, four-year tuition scholarship to Mercyhurst University on a competitive basis.




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