Schweitzer Institute to build campus presence

Meghan Parmentier

Since 2002, the Albert Schweitzer Institute has existed at Quinnipiac University to encourage students to expand their perspectives to encompass global prospects when considering humanitarian values, healthcare and peace.

The Institute has been successful in helping poverty-stricken areas around the world such as Nicaragua and Guatemala, yet recent results of public relations class surveys show that more than half of Quinnipiac’s students still do not know the Institute exists on campus.

As an initiative to increase recognition across campus, the Institute will be implementing two new programs this upcoming fall semester: a Fellowship Program and a Certificate for Ethics and Responsibility Program.

According to David T. Ives, executive director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute, the purpose of the Fellowship Program is to develop students into leaders who will direct events and insightful opportunities that promote Dr. Schweitzer’s morals and views on human dignity.

“For many years, the students have been saying there are not enough opportunities for volunteer services,” Ives said. “I think it will help Quinnipiac, the students’ lives here, their future lives, and their aspirations. And it might make the world a better place while we’re at it.”

The two programs will provide interested Quinnipiac students of any major with the opportunity for an ethics-centered context to link their college experience, courses and otherwise, to the ideals advocated by Albert Schweitzer.

The Certificate for Ethics and Responsibility Program will operate on a series of points, advising students to complete service learning courses, leading service opportunities like alternative spring breaks, and participating in a Model UN conference.

The Fellowship Program will be a smaller group of students engaged in the certificate program.  Students can be nominated by faculty and administrators, and of those, 20 will be chosen for the Fellowship Program each year.

The programs are additionally intended to aid students with their applications to graduate programs.  For medical graduate schools, community service is a significant part of the application.

“It is helpful for them when they apply for grad schools to be able to show that they’ve done something substantial and been recognized for it,” Ives said.

Ives expects health cience majors to take advantage of the programs first because of the service component on their applications.  However, he emphasizes that students of every year and major are encouraged to participate. Participants will join on a volunteer basis.

The final intent of the programs’ development is to promote the values of Albert Schweitzer on a worldwide basis.  The students participating in these programs will grasp a firm understanding of Schweitzer’s values, especially the respect for all life forms he relayed in his “reverence for life” philosophy.

“Having people know more about him and his values through these programs would be a good thing,” Ives said.  “We want people to think before something is destroyed and before violence occurs.”

Photo credit: Joe Pelletier