LLC Takes on Ethics in the Borderlands

LLC2020 tripOver winter break, a group of 14 students in Kenan’s Global Citizenship and Ethics Living/Learning Community (LLC) took an educational trip to Tucson, Arizona.  As the name suggests, this group lives and learns together, exploring broad ethical questions through twice yearly trips, dinners and social events throughout the year, and a house course in the Fall.

This year’s trip explored immigration and environmental ethics. The students visited the border wall, observed an immigration court proceeding, hiked in Saguaro National Park, and visited a number of environmental advocacy NGOs. During the week in Tucson, students discussed the impacts of U.S. immigration policy, the ethical use of public land, the value of biological diversity, and the ways in which these issues are all uniquely intertwined in the borderlands of the American Southwest. 

Senior Bo Carlson described his experience:

“The LLC trip to Tucson allowed us to dig deeper into immigration, a topic that flows in and out of public debate but is always present in the lives of people at the border. Attending an immigration hearing and seeing the border wall firsthand challenged us to think of a better alternative to the status quo. I look forward to drawing on this experience as I conduct research on deportation and its effects on Central American migrants.”

The group heard the personal stories of several immigrants, allowing them to learn and deliberate on what could cause people to move and what obstacles they might face throughout their journey. In discussing these issues on a variety of scales, they took into account everything from people’s stories and emotions to broad policies and their impacts. They further reflected on the heritage of the American Southwest and Northern Mexico, including its history, indigenous cultures, and the changing possession of the borderlands. The LLC also discussed the mechanics and strategies of public campaigns and litigation surrounding the protection of public land and endangered species.  According to LLC Exec Nikki Santos, “The trip broadened our perspectives and showed us just how complicated these issues can be.”  

Junior Wesley Pritzlaff added:

 “Everything—every object, every person, every circumstance—is deeper than it seems. This is what I learned during my time in Tucson as I engaged in discussion with several organizations and locals regarding immigration and environmental ethics in the city and surrounding area. My experience in Tucson empowered me to think critically about issues that not only impact this region of the United States, but both the greater world and my local community.

Students will continue these discussions and engage in more in the halls and common rooms of Duke’s Edens Residence Hall, where the LLC members all live and frequently hold social gatherings, talks, and other educational events. Another group of students from the LLC will participate in a similar trip over Spring Break.

“We want to thank the Institute and its supporters for providing us with such a unique and engaging educational experience!”
– Ryan Hastings, LLC Exec

LLC 2020 tuscon


LLC students have the opportunity to engage with concepts of ethics off campus through funded house trips, as well as on campus through dinners, social events, a half-credit course in the fall, and discussions with faculty and guests, providing unique networking opportunities.  Interesting in joining Kenan’s Global Citizenship and Ethics Living/Learning Community?  Apply here.