Breanne Ward, fourth from left, listens while broken into a small group discussion session during the Ethics Symposium. (Photos by Keagan Thein, Ethics Symposium Activities Coordinator)

By Kasey Ricketts, communications assistant,Office of University Communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. — Inspiring students for 40 years now, the College Ethics Symposium has strived to challenge young adults to live a life that makes a difference by setting a positive example of what is right, good, honest, and fair.

“We hope students will discover new frame works to assist in making ethical decisions in all aspects of their personal and professional lives without compromising fundamental moral values,” Jim Webb, chairman, said.

Four Campbellsville University students, Breanne Ward, a senior from Marysville, Ind.; Raven Moore, a  junior from LaGrange, Ky.; Miwa Tabata, a junior of Japan, and Sayaka Kochi, who is taking post baccalaureate classes, also from Japan, attended the sessions. Kasey Ricketts, communications assistant with the Office of University Communications, accompanied the students.

The conference was Oct. 19-21 in Hilton Head, S.C. It fits into Campbellsville University’s Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) that focuses on ethical decision making.

The symposium kicked off with a beach social on Hilton Head. “It was nice to slowly get to know one another before diving into the heavy stuff. It made me feel more comfortable when we got into our groups because I already had a sense of connection,” Ward said.

After the beach social, 80 plus students and 22 faculty/staff members from 18 different universities gathered at the First Presbyterian Church of Hilton Head to break into smaller groups and get down to work.

“No two students from a particular school are in the same group which encourages participation without a local peer present. Eight to ten students has been found to be a good number per group so that effective communication can occur,” Dr. Doug Glass, symposium liaison, said.

 During the Ethics Symposium, host families opened their homes for guests for a place of lodging and providing dinner. These were Campbellsville University host families. From left are: Front row — Breanne Ward, Raven Moore and CU staff member Kasey Ricketts. Back row — Susan Parrish, Ed Parrish, Miwa Tabata, Sayaka Kochi, Joe Patton and Susan Patton

Over the next three days, the students gathered in their groups with a facilitator who helped lead the discussion. The groups went over topics such as suicide, birth control, safe driving, falsifying resumes, death penalty and more.

“Going into the symposium I expected to be lectured and getting talked to about ethics. To be honest, it wasn’t like anything I expected. It was engaging, fun and informative. We were able to debate and give opinions in a respectful environment where we all valued each other’s opinions,” Moore said.

The students ranged from a variety of different university types such as liberal art universities, all female universities, military schools and private religious affiliated universities. Each one brought something different to the discussion.

“We had a very well-rounded group with all different backgrounds, so it made for a very interesting discussion each time we met. Apart from learning about new cases, I feel as though the most important thing that I took away through this was seeing unique and new perspectives while being open to them,” Ward said.

The two Campbellsville University Japanese students faced a different issue.

“I expected that I wouldn’t be able to join in the discussion because of the lack of English skills. As the discussion became more lively, my facilitator asked me about Japanese culture. Thanks to him, I could talk a little during the discussion. It impressed me the difference between the cultures while hearing everyone’s opinions,” Sayaka Kochi said.

The symposium is meant for junior or seniors who are getting prepared to enter a new chapter in their life.

“We hope to assist students in ethical decision making and the process of decision making,” Glass said.

“This was a good opportunity for us to communicate with other college students,” Tabata said.

“We have few opportunities for something like this. In a small town like Campbellsville we rarely face such ethical conflicts, so this will help prepare us for when we leave school and enter into the ‘real world,’” Tabata said.

“I would highly recommend the symposium. You learn a lot about ethics as well as hear other people’s viewpoints. The people were nice, the activities were fun and the island was beautiful,” Moore said.