Ignatian Family Teach-In

November 25, 2019


Eleven Canisius College students had the opportunity to participate in the 2019 Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in Washington, D.C. from November 16-18.  The Canisius students joined more than 1,800 members of the Ignatian Family at the largest annual Catholic social justice gathering in the United States to hear from internationally renowned speakers, pray, network, and advocate for justice on Capitol Hill.

The Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice is an annual meeting for members of the Ignatian family (Jesuit institutions and larger church) to gather in the context of social justice and solidarity. It is a place where people are empowered, re-energized, inspired, challenged, and supported by a community that sees faith and justice integrally linked.

“The opportunity to network with young adults who feel just as passionately about the Jesuit ideals of faith and justice as our students do is always an energizing experience,” says Kaitlyn Buehlmann ’14, associate campus minister at the college who led the Canisius group.

The Teach-In culminates in an Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill where students meet with their elected officials to discuss what they learned at the conference.  This year’s advocacy issues were immigration and the environment.

An animal behavior, ecology and conservation (ABEC) major, Mackenzie Nish ’20 says she has seen how conservation efforts and awareness are key to continuing a cycle of pro-eco behavior.  “This is something I am currently working toward implementing in my daily life as well.”

Nish also gained insight into immigration policy reform.  “I have been a supporter of the idea of welcoming people into the United States, being a naturalized citizen myself,” she says. “However, I wanted to learn more about the reality of the migration process into the United States under our current policy in order to critically think about why I held this viewpoint.”

Morgan Morris ’21 describes the Teach-In as the best time of the year.  A sociology and communications major with a minor in women and gender studies, Morris was a co-student leader for this year’s Teach-In.  She gained a better understanding of lobbying. “I didn’t realize how much power I had in my voice,” she says.  Participants encourage others to participate in the Teach-In. “Your voice is important,” adds Morris.

Buehlmann notes that Advocacy Day is a deeply impactful experience for students. “Oftentimes they go into the meetings with their elected officials a little nervous but they come out feeling empowered and understanding their voices can make a difference in our democracy.  As an educator, it’s powerful to see that transformation.”