The Klau Institute student community reaches every school and college at Notre Dame. Now, with the creation of the Student Leadership Team (SLT), students from a range of disciplines are helping to shape institute programming.
Created by Erica Loding, program manager at the Klau Institute, the initiative is designed to engage highly motivated students in a substantive way. “Until the creation of the SLT, all events were planned and executed by staff,” said Loding. “We saw an opportunity for students to serve as leaders – to build events around subjects they feel passionate about, to work collaboratively with their peers, and to have personal interactions with the scholars who present at events. For many students, Klau is a second home on campus.”
While the institute’s student affiliate community is broad, no one knew how students would respond to a chance to help lead. Loding found an audience eager for her invitation. “The response from students far exceeded my expectations,” she said. “Within only a few days of advertising the SLT, dozens of students indicated their interest. We currently have a core group of around ten students.”
“Participating in talks organized by the Klau Institute nurtures a culture of curiosity, understanding, and empathy,
which are important qualities in the field of human rights.”
Jonathan Pabillore, graduate student in the LL.M. Program in International Human Rights Law and member of the SLT, explained his motivation in becoming more involved. “I became interested in the Student Leadership Team because it provides an avenue for students to organize events and talks around human rights to their fellow students,” he explained. “I feel that students have a good grasp of what their colleagues are interested in or what topics pique everyone's interests.”
Loding has found a wealth of ideas in the students’ input, supplementing the institute’s already busy schedule of events with unexpected topics. “This semester, SLT is organizing an event about human rights and fashion. The connection between these two topics is perhaps not obvious at first, so this will be a very interesting event! We will also be organizing an event on human rights and sports.”
For Pabillore, the chance to identify avenues for student exploration is critical. “We hope to show how human rights intersects with every aspect of our lives, in ways, perhaps, that people do not expect or in ways that they take for granted,” he said. “Participating in talks organized by the Klau Institute nurtures a culture of curiosity, understanding, and empathy, which are important qualities in the field of human rights.”