Two Cornell students were chosen to participate in the West Point National Conference on Ethics in America last month based on essays they submitted and a recommendation from Cornell’s Program on Ethics & Public Life.
Simone Smith ’20, a government major, and Jacqueline Hutchinson ‘18, a development sociology major, traveled to West Point for the conference, “Moral Courage: Finding the Strength to Act.” The conference allows students from West Point to meet with ROTC and non-ROTC students from across the country for conversation, lectures and small group discussions. This year’s event allowed students to “discuss techniques that will allow them to rise to the occasion when moral courage is required to implement action,” according to the conference description.
“This was a truly rich, powerful conference that provided me with the chance to engage in meaningful discussions and gave me tools to take back to my campus,” Smith said. “The list of speakers ranged from a former white supremacist to the superintendents of West Point and the Air Force Academy to a 17-year-old girl changing cyberbullying with an app.”
Hutchinson said the opportunity to talk about these issues with students in the military was eye-opening.
“I was humbled and inspired by the different perspectives and stories that each student shared, and I was constantly being surprised by the fact that I related to so many of these students, especially the cadets,” she said. “This conference was a really pivotal part of my college career, and also set me up with skills that I know I will use in my future of human rights law.”