Education is more than just studying science or history, poetry or music. It is about learning and appreciating how the fields of study come to impact our lives.
It isn’t just about the “Why?” questions. It is just as much about the “Should we?”
Those are questions of ethics. In a world where questionable decisions are made every day, it is an area that should be an important part of every student experience.
In 2001, Penn State took a step forward in that field with the formation of the Rock Ethics Institute, with its mission “to promote ethical awareness and inquiry across the university, and in the public and professional sectors, through a three-fold emphasis on teaching, research, and outreach.”
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And as part of that, every year, they seek out students who have learned these lessons well.
The Stand Up Award honors undergrads who have taken a stand for something meaningful during their years at Penn State.
In 2014, the honor, and its $1,000 prize, went to physics senior Zachary Brubaker for his work to bring the blind and sighted communities together and overall commitment to workers with disabilities; and to childhood and early adolescent education senior Maggie Cardin, who decided to speak up about suicide prevention after the loss of her brother.
Past honorees have worked with young people dealing with cancer in loved ones, addressed bullying, supported equality for the gay community, promoted fair labor practices, fought to help those struggling with mental illness, recruiting volunteers and more.
“This award and the individuals it honors should remind the entire Penn State community of how often the extraordinary act is possible in ordinary circumstances,” according to the institute.
And that’s who they are looking for now.
Nominations are being taken for the 2015 award through Jan. 30. If you know someone who has helped others, who saw something that was wrong and tried to make it right, or something that was good and tried to make it better, let Penn State know by nominating them at rockethics.psu.edu.
This is Penn State’s opportunity to stand up for the people who are getting ethics right.