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Summer Social Justice Institute

We would like to invite you to participate in the Summer Social Justice Institute for first-year students – a 4-day training session, sponsored by Swarthmore and Haverford Colleges – August 19- 22, 2020.

The Summer Social Justice Institute is designed to help students enhance both their leadership skills and their individual/group identity issues within the context of exploring issues of gender, race, sexuality, socio-economic class, spirituality, power, and privilege through the framework of storytelling. To this end, intensive workshops on the intersection and complexity of all these issues will be explored by participants attending the Summer Institute.

The Summer Institute is probably best described as a retreat/intensive workshop experience. Each day the faculty and Student Resource Persons (SRPs) present a program of activities during the day and into the evenings. Every day brings a different mix of activities. At the end of the day students participate in journal groups where they have an opportunity to write about and explore issues discussed during the course of the day. In some cases, we analyze what makes ineffective communication and the practice good cross-cultural communication.

Staff members are available during the day for individual chats or informal discussions during breaks and over meals. SRPs are always available during the day and in the evening for informal discussion, planned discussion, and for organized and spontaneous fun.

Participants report late night discussions that are exhausting and exhilarating, often at the same time. The Summer Social Justice Institute promises to be an intense time- filled with a variety of emotions.

Please note that no fees are involved; tuition, room, and board for the program are paid for by the College. Participants are only obligated to attend all seminars and workshops and to complete all assignments in good order.  You must provide your own transportation to the Institute.  If the Institute will be offered online via Zoom conferencing.


  • Small Group Discussions + Games + Journal Writing + Lecture
  • Parties + Campus Tours + Off-Campus Trips + Group Norm Exercises


  • Storytelling
  • Communication Skills: Strategies and Exercise
  • Gender Differences + Conflict Resolution + Time Management
  • Intra-Group Experience: Common Ground
  • Inter-Group Experiences: Creating Bridges
  • Class Power + Privilege
  • Navigating the College System
  • Campus Climate
  • Inclusive Leadership

Students interested in attending the Summer Social Justice Institute should complete the online application.  Space is limited to 20 students – so, if you plan to attend, you must reply as soon as possible, but no later than June 12.  Note: the application is available online along with many of the other forms. If you have any questions, contact Betsy Durning, Administrative Coordinator  in the Dean’s Office, at 610-690-5744, or by email at We look forward to hearing from you soon.


Shá Duncan Smith

Assistant Vice President and Dean of Inclusive Excellence and Community Development