Five Franklin & Marshall College students – three seniors, a junior and a first-year – recently presented a paper on their research about the health care disparities among minority populations in Lancaster County to the Oxford Consortium for Human Rights. This is the first time F&M has participated in the consortium.
The students gave a 30-minute virtual presentation March 28. About a dozen colleges participated in the consortium, a program of workshop seminars for students and faculty in collaboration with Oxford University’s Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict.
The program asks participants to present on a local human-rights issue related to a theme. This year’s theme was Black Lives Matter in a global context.
“I was allowed the opportunity to network with a plateau of professionals and students alike that were immensely passionate about justice, freedom and solidarity,” said Oluwafunmilayo Tracy Oguns, a senior public health major with a government focus. “An experience like none other, it has truly left me with more knowledge than I came in with, and I am glad to have experienced it with my peers, Munahil, Moises, Raluca, and Sam, under the wonderful supervision of Professor George Fourlas.”
Oguns, whose major focuses on public health, was joined by junior cognitive science major Raluca Rilla, senior joint studies major Mo Soto-Brito, first-year Munahil (Muna) Sultana, and senior philosophy major Sam Bellersen. They were each nominated for the consortium seminars by various faculty in F&M’s Government and Philosophy departments.
“They did an excellent job representing F&M and their presentation on the health care disparities amongst Black, Indigenous and people of color was well-received,” said Fourlas, visiting assistant professor of philosophy and government.
Fourlas was part of the group of academics who helped organize the consortium more than eight years ago when Franklin & Marshall President Barbara Altmann, then senior vice provost at the University of Oregon, directed that university to become among its first participants.
This year, the annual workshops were conducted virtually over two weekends, but since its founding in 2012, the consortium hosts students and faculty for a week in Oxford, England, where F&M hopes to take a larger cohort next year, Fourlas said.
“I have worked with OCHR since its formation many years ago and have found it to be an exciting and empowering experience for students and activists/scholars,” he said.