Members of the San Francisco Hall Council tackled more than their required reading last semester. Together, they raised about $180 for the Equal Justice Initiative, a social justice organization founded by the author of the book all first-year students were instructed to read.
Bryan Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative. The organization website states the Equal Justice Initiative is “committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.”
Stevenson is the author of “Just Mercy,” a book that incoming first-years from the class of 2020 were required to read, and was the convocation speaker in 2016.
Assistant Resident Director and San Francisco Hall Council Advisor Joshua Shannon said Hall Councils — student-run groups that create programming and provide leadership opportunities — are important to the residence communities.
“Typically hall councils do focus more on service or social justice initiatives,” said Shannon. “They also serve as a platform and communal space for the residents and … do a lot of great programming.”
First-year environmental science major Sam Frederickson is the vice president of San Francisco Hall Council. He said the group held a competition the week before finals last semester between the upper floors (4,5,6) and lower floors (1,2,3) of San Francisco Hall. The upper floors won the competition by $61.85, and a pizza party the Hall Council’s budget funded was held for residents, according to Frederickson.
Students had the option to vote for the charity they wanted to receive the money, according to the 19-year-old. He said the four options were Paws Rescue Alliance, Bridge Communications, Alliance for Great Lakes and the Equal Justice Initiative.
First-year environmental science and Spanish double major Eve Hemingway is one of the program coordinators on the Hall Council, and she said she wanted to give residents a say in where their dollars went by voting.
“[Hall Council is] supposed to be democratic,” said the 18-year-old. “We always try to give everyone a voice, so we decided to have everyone vote on it just to make sure they can be heard.”
Students voted to send the money to the Equal Justice Initiative, according to Frederickson. Frederickson said the Hall Council did not have the exact numbers from the vote.
First-year creative advertising major Justes Kemper said he voted for the Paws Rescue Alliance, but he was satisfied with the result of the program.
“No matter what charity [the money] went to, it was very beneficial,” said Kemper.
The money raised was sent to the Equal Justice Initiative in January, according to Frederickson.
Frederickson said he hopes the program will inspire students at Loyola’s other residence halls to hold similar programs.
“We want to encourage other dorms to do the same with the philanthropy-type activities,” said Frederickson.