Global Value and Ethical Implications

Over the years, students have found reflection on two particular learning outcomes the most challenging.  Diploma Candidates are required to reflect on engaging with issues of global significance as well as recognizing and considering the ethics of choices and actions of their CAS Experiences. So we have included some example reflections, with the permission of former students, as guidance for current and future candidates.

Example reflection that includes some issues of global importance and some ethical implications...

Paintball
I had my first paintball event last Sunday (yesterday) and it was something different. I was accompanied by my friend Asia, and together we formed a small group within our teams. Asia was our sniper and I was his point-man and close quarter defense. To top it off, we were both equipped with military uniforms and ready to immerse ourselves in a dangerous world for the afternoon. Our first scenario was one quite common in real war. Our group was given a bunker/walled area to defend from a group of attackers who could keep coming at us and had infinite lives. We each had one life and had to hold out for as long as possible. It really demonstrated the power of taking cover and digging in as opposed to having to move to a defended area. We won with minimal losses. But that day was not one filled with tactical lessons.

What was more powerful to me was the thought of real war. I took a couple of hits, most everyone did. To think that in a real war, one could die even faster than a paintball travels towards you is something else. Half the time it's easy to see coming and you can take cover, but with certain circumstances it hits you without a warning. One game in particular, I was never hit by an enemy, yet one of our teammates managed to shoot me three times on three separate occasions. Besides being displeased that my head was covered in paint, I could not stop thinking about a statistic I heard about how many soldiers are killed due to friendly fire. I cannot find the figures anymore, but I can certainly say that a lack of training and a quick trigger finger can result in serious casualties on one's own side. I never had the problem, because I often stop to watch what is going on and ask myself a quick question before I fire, but not everyone operates that way.

Though it was only Asia and I, it was still a good exercise in sticking together and communicating and I had never done such activities on such an intense level. It gives me insight on the soldier's mind as well. All the while I was fighting I was completely fine, but after finishing my day and relaxing I felt the battles. To say it was taxing physically is an understatement. As I write this I am still suffering from a mild headache and aches in every muscle along my arms, shoulders and legs. I had a good time though, and I know more about tactical plans now. For next time however, I will plan on having a much larger group, and work on communication and teamwork more. I already have several candidates in mind.

Color Run
Prior to the run, I aimed to meet six learning outcomes; awareness of my strengths, undertaking new challenges, showing perseverance, engaged with issues of social importance, develop new skills, consider ethical implications. I believe throughout the duration of the training and the event itself, I completed each of these learning outcomes.

I was worried about the race because I was not sure if I was going to be able to complete it under my goal time of 40 minutes since I was running on the road when mostly ran on the treadmill. I had heard that running on the road was more difficult and so I was unsure if I was going to be able to perform the way I wanted to. However, while I was running I discovered that it was not as hard as I imagined and I finished the 5k in 35 minutes, which was under my goal time. So I learned that I can indeed push myself to complete tasks in an environment somewhat unfamiliar to me. I still have room for improvement, however. In the next 5k I complete I will aim to have a smaller completion time.

The idea of running 5k was a challenge entirely for me. Since I never was a runner, I knew that running a 5k would be a huge challenge for me. Also, my friends that I ran the 5k with are very athletic, and so I wanted to keep up with them for the duration of the race, which I knew would not be easy since they run a 5k almost everyday in practice for sports. I surprised myself because I was able to keep up with them for the entire race without asking them to slow down or take a break. At the end of the race I felt very accomplished.

I showed commitment to this run by training for months previous to the race and not backing out, which I did consider a few times. I sometimes was not sure if I would be able to finish the 5k and thought that maybe I would not participate in the race, however I quickly changed my mind because not only was doing the race my idea, I had already promised my friends, and I wanted to prove to myself I could accomplish this.

Although the run itself is not for a specific cause of some sort, The Color Run is partnered with the organization Global Citizen and supports local charities. Global Citizen helps people who live in extreme poverty all around the world by helping provide food, clean water, and education. The Color Run has tables set up at the actual event to help spread awareness about the cause. Also, at each event, local charities set up tables where people can donate money.

Running a 5k has taught me new skills about running and being active as well. Previous to training for the run I did not know the importance of stretching and unfortunately I had to learn the hard way after getting shin splints for the first time. I now know the correct way to stretch pre and post activity and why its important. I also discovered the correct way to breathe while running to make it the most beneficial to overall health.

I previously mentioned how the Color Run supports charities, which is also part of the ethical implications, however, there are also some implications on a lesser scale than a global charity and are personal. The logo of the The Color Run is the "Happiest 5K on Earth" and after the completion of the color run I realized not only the accuracy but the importance of that.

Typically I find exercise to be rather unenjoyable and I feel like this is becoming more and more of a problem throughout America. The obesity rate is rising, especially in children, and exercise is viewed as something that is not necessary, and that is problem. What The Color Run did for me was give me motivation to exercise and the event itself was so much fun. I feel like more events like The Color Run should happen as a way for people to exercise and become healthier.

Overall The Color Run was a great experience and I am very happy with myself for everything that I accomplished. I never would have guessed when I started training for the race that I would have been able to keep up with my very athletic friends and even complete the race in 35 minutes, which I am still surprised by. I definitely want to do another 5k and I will surely participate in the next Color Run 5k.

Reflection that includes ethical implications
Recently the Sturgis Stormwatch has been trying to integrate for the first time in the history of Sturgis a bimonthly printed paper. So far, The Sturgis Stormwatch had just been a blog, but because of its cyber from, this leads to certain implications, such as encouraging lax due dates for articles, low viewership from students, and even lack of awareness of the paper existence.

Now creating a printed version of our paper isn't a new idea, the newspaper club has been turning this idea for a while, trying to figure out the complicated logistics. For one, we would need sponsors to fund the paper, we would need to design the paper (a task that has fallen on me), and we would need to have students willing to pay two quarters every two weeks for a copy.

I feel very stressed that designing the paper is my job, I wanted the job, but it is still worrisome to have to design a layout without the expensive $300 dollar program most school newspaper have, I also have very limited experience with any sort of design software, though I have the bare essentials. Learning to design a paper layout will be an interesting learning experience. I am going to use pages on my MacBook Pro and see where that takes me. I also had the idea of using a type of printer paper that is cheaper and good for the environment and that felt like that thin and easy to fold paper newspaper material businesses use. That way, we are saving the environment, money, as well as looking for aesthetically pleasing.

All newspaper members have been assigned a certain business to pitch our business plan and sell our ad space for $15 dollars a month. I was assigned Michaels, a craft store, and TD Bank. Talking to the managers and convincing them to sponsor a school newspaper that will be viewed by only 400 students and have no previous experience selling a newspaper will be challenging and terrifying, but it is something that I must do for the birth of the paper. No matter the outcome, this is a great experience for the newspaper club as a whole, we are learning important business skills, like managing a budget, meeting with sponsors, drawing up a business plan, designing a product, and collaborating with a group to reach a common goal.