The Big Q
A dialogue on the big questions college students face.
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Monday, Mar. 21, 2011
David DeCosse is director of campus ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. His Ph.D. in theological ethics is from Boston College, and he teaches classes such as "The Ethics of War and Peace."
It's true--I like reading and writing about abstract theories of freedom in social and political life. But all that work and study is the top of the building. The foundation of the structure is attention to real life, where ethics is played out, surprising, shaded with doubt, or lit up like the sun on a green California hill. Blogs fit into that foundation. They inhabit that space of real life where what happens hits us hard, evokes a bunch of opinions, then evokes a bunch more. Space is opened up in all this churn: Space to see things more clearly, live life more rightly.
Thursday, Mar. 17, 2011
First and foremost, the Big Q is for college students. We want it to be an online hub for honest discussion about the everyday--but sometimes complicated--ethical issues students have to come to grips with.
But the Big Q is also for the people who care about college students--parents, teachers, and student life professionals. It's a way to find out what issues students are wrestling with.
We'd love for the blog to be place where students can talk among themselves and also with older people who understand--or want to understand--what they are going through.
Wednesday, Mar. 16, 2011
To cheat or not to cheat? Is it okay to take Adderall to study? Is there anything wrong with friends with benefits?
Create a 2-5 minute video that shows an ethical issue for college students. Prize: $500
Don’t know what an ethical issue is? Click Here
Use your own creative style and approach. Just be sure the video shows how students face an ethical dilemma.
Open to undergraduates, ages 18-25, currently enrolled at 2- or 4-year colleges and universities.
To enter, go to the Big Q Facebook page and click the tab for video contest. Instructions on uploading your video are on that site.
Entries accepted March 11-April 11.
Judging: Ten finalists will be selected by Facebook likes. Winner is selected by a panel of three students and three members of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics staff.
Tuesday, Mar. 15, 2011
The first round of The Big Q focuses on nine dilemmas any college student may face:
Your floormate puts up a poster that you find offensive.
You want to end a "friends with benefits" relationship but wind up in bed anyway.
You have been invited to a "Fresh Off the Boat" theme party.
Your roommate has stopped eating and you worry that she is anorexic.
Your friend offers you some of his prescription Adderall to help you study.
One member of your group project is not doing his share of the work.
You've failed a paper for unintended plagiarism, and your dad wants to call the teacher.
Your friend has passed out from drinking. Should you call the EMTs?
Your first job offer is from a company you're not excited about working for.
These stories were among the 130 narratives collected from undergraduates across the country by students working for the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.
Subscribe to the blog to read the week's case and comments and leave your own feedback.
Also, visit The Big Q Facebook page to participate in polls about the week's case or to learn about The Big Q Video Contest.
Monday, Mar. 14, 2011
The Big Q invites you into a conversation about the big questions college students face in their own lives. Starting March 28, every Monday we will post a short description of an ethical decision students face in college—that group project where one of the members didn’t do her fair share; the roommate who has passed out after a night of drinking; the choice about whether or not to have sex without marriage or even without love.
Each of the following days, you can read comments from students, parents, student life professionals, and members of the Ethics Center staff. We want to know what you think as well, so use our comments feature.
"The Big Q" is part of a larger social media campaign, which includes a video contest
with a $500 prize, weekly polls
, and a Facebook page
. The project was developed by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. Founded 25 years ago, the Ethics Center works with students, faculty, and professionals in many different fields to understand the ethical issues in people's lives and to develop practical tools for dealing with them.
Monday, Mar. 7, 2011
The hub for The Big Q project is on Facebook. There you can:
- Tell us your own ethical dilemmas and leave feedback for others
- Vote in The Big Q Poll
- Enter a video in The Big Q Video Contest. Vote for the video you like best
- Find out what college issues are in the news, from Adderall use on campuses to friends with benefits relationships in the movies
Want to get into a deeper dialog about these issues? Beginning March 28, this blog will feature a weekly case study of an ethical issue that college students are facing. Join the conversation.
Tuesday, May. 1, 2001
Becca is currently a graduate student at San Jose State University working on a Master's in Sociology. She graduated from Santa Clara in 2010 with a Bachelor's of Science in Sociology. As a student at SCU, she was the social media intern at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. She wrote many of the cases for The Big Q and developed the pilot Facebook page for the project.
Friday, May. 1, 0201
When you post a comment on the blog, you will be asked for your name and e-mail address. You are not required to use your real name, but even if you decide to use an alias, please respect the purpose of the site and keep it clean and civil. We ask for your e-mail address only so we can contact you if you win The Big Q contest. We do not otherwise use--or sell--your information.