Emory University recently launched a new project to inspire more ethical behavior within the campus and the community. The Emory Integrity Project (EIP), founded summer 2016, is the first organization of its kind to be formed within a college.
The EIP was founded off of a $2.6 million dollar grant from the John Templeton Foundation, and is currently in its first implementation year. The project will last three years, and hopes to foster lasting impacts extending beyond the three years of active leadership it will provide.
“The purpose of the project is to try to re-imagine undergraduate education around themes of ethics and integrity.” said Paul Wolpe, principal investigator for the Emory Integrity Project. We are doing this through co-curricular education, inside and outside of the classroom.”
The EIP is currently only featured on a college level within Emory University, but the same ideas are the ones already presented within Grady curriculum that are important to maintain.
“Ethics is all about human behavior and human conduct, which can always improve how we interact,” said Lamar Young, Grady High School counselor. “We are in a time where civility is being challenged, and bringing up issues of ethics allows us to think of our behavior and conduct. We should always try to encourage the discussion of these issues”
This semester, The EIP assigned every incoming Emory freshman a copy of the book “I am Malala.” The book tells the story of a young Pakistani woman, Malala Yousafzai, and her efforts to encourage the education of females around the world.
“I think “I am Malala” is a particularly relevant book for students of our age because Malala is 19 and serving as an activist for women’s education across the world. Reading it makes one become very aware of how fortunate we are to receive an education at all.” said Isabel Olson, Emory student and Grady Alumni “Whether it be elementary, middle, high school or beyond, I think we often take for granted the education we are given, but across the world, students our age especially women, are prohibited from education and would love to be given the chance to receive one.”
In conjunction with the book assignment, the project started public outreach to the students and surrounding community within DeKalb county and Atlanta. On October 18th, keynote speaker Shiza Shahid, an advocate for women’s rights who mentored Malala, who spoke on her experiences and encouraged activism on social issues.
“Shahid brought the message that you have the power to change what you can’t accept,” said Emily Lorino, co-coordinator of the Emory Integrity Project. “This means that if there is something that bothers you about society, you have the power to do something about it regardless of your age. These kinds of social impacts are what the Emory Integrity project hopes to inspire with speakers like Shahid.”
The Emory integrity project hopes to continue to branch out and to bring more keynote speakers in to inspire the community with the messages they have.
“We are starting at the college level, but we hope to have it trickle down into the broader community. Our goal at the end of three years into this project is to create a model that can be extended to other colleges, or even high schools within the Atlanta area.” said Lorino.
For many of the Emory undergraduate population, the ideas of integrity and ethical behavior are something that they value on a college level, and on one that extends to the greater Atlanta area and even to Grady.
“I think integrity is not just important to spread within Emory, but to spread throughout the community and beyond.” said Olson “It helps on a college campus to know your personal values, because there are so many students from different backgrounds, political beliefs and ethnicities that play into the well developed diverse campus. These same ideas apply to schools like Grady. The diverse Grady student body creates a wonderful environment to learn the values of integrity because everyday at Grady you are learning how to thrive in an academic setting with people of many different backgrounds.”
The EIP also hopes to extend to the community by having students directly involved in the project reach out to the community and spread the messages that have inspired them.
“There are a number of programs in place at Emory University in which students go into the community, and the EIP is supporting those programs so that we can have an ethics and leadership program,” said Wolpe. “The EIP tries to encourage public outreach by students because through serving their community they are demonstrating integrity, but also so they can support their community and try to make an impact in it.”
The project is still a new development, but those involved have high hopes for the outcomes of the spread of integrity. Within the next three years, the project is ambitious to bring in more speakers and to leave lasting impacts on the university and community as a whole.
“The Emory Integrity project aims to be a program that creates ethical leaders with integrity who will have an impact on the world in which they live in.” said Lorino