Sociology Club Brings Human Touch To Research

Photo Credit: Jackie Reiss

Sociologists research and quantify the way humans treat each other — and the often-terrible results of those actions. But topics like racism, sexism, homelessness and poverty are just words on a screen if you never leave the office.

That’s the purpose behind Knights for Social Justice (KSJ), a student-run organization on a mission to put a human face to research.  For instance, KSJ recently hosted a three-day event spotlighting human trafficking, with guest speakers from local law enforcement, non-profits and government agencies detailing their experiences on the front lines. Out in the community, they’re cleaning up trash on the banks of the Econlockhatchee River and advocating for reforms with state and federal legislators.

“We want to impact lives. (In sociology) we’re identifying all these communities with inequalities, but without action you’re sitting there and working. These are real people,” said Lauren Daniel, a second year Master’s student studying social sciences and the incoming club president.

The club is broken out into caucuses, each focused on a different subject. For instance, there are caucuses for Criminal Justice Reform, Political Action, LGBTQ and Environmental Justice. This structure allows students to concentrate their efforts on a topic that’s personal to them, or to expand their viewpoints on the world.

One of Daniel’s goals as president is expanding the mentorship program at Evans High School in the Pine Hills community. The program was started by a new freshman member, Daftne Sanchez, and focuses on teaching high school students practical life skills like how to buy insurance, public speaking and how to apply for college. Daniel would also like to reprise an event like the human trafficking seminar, but with a different caucus like Mental Health.

Research has its value, but often publications are limited to a niche audience, explains outgoing president Jackie Reiss, also a sociology Master’s student. This broad approach sets up students for a lifetime of personalizing their sociology passions.

“Instead of just publishing, we’re incorporating a hands-on aspect,” Reiss said.

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