By: Owen Wong ’23
Due to COVID-19, Brophy’s 2021 Summit on Human Dignity was held under a virtual format this year. Was the virtual experience the same, or even better than the normal, physical format?
Yes, the Summit might indeed have not had the same type of impact for some people this year, without speakers coming to campus to talk to the whole student body. But with the split in students participating in school, the virtualized Summit was rather convenient in allowing remote students to have a part in the Summit and allowing on-campus students to stay safe and distanced.
Better yet, this virtual format allows for more workshop speakers. In the past, workshop speakers and keynote speakers were brought to Brophy from many different places inside and outside of Arizona. With the virtual format, it is more convenient for the speakers to talk from their homes, over zoom, than having to travel to Phoenix.
For some students at home, the virtual format helped some find a more quiet environment for reflection and focus.
A few of the downsides of not hearing from speakers in person are that some workshops with activities are less interactive, and students might have trouble staying invested in what the speaker is saying.
Some students weren’t exactly able to ask questions to teachers in person, and some didn’t get the booklet pdfs during the Summit. This left a portion of the online students asking others for notes and looking back on the recordings of the keynotes.
Another one of the downsides of this year’s Virtual Summit was similar to some of the problems with learning at home, with possible issues with the various devices, family members, and other distractions around the house.
And unfortunately, there are also bound to be technical issues when holding live streams for hundreds of people.
In summary, I believe that with technical improvements, the best route to take with the Summit would be virtually. I feel like the ability to receive workshops from a variety of speakers with ease for the speaker is great, and minus the distractions, the ability to be in a good environment for reflection and focus is very beneficial to the learning experience that comes with the Summit.
Regardless, the Virtual Summit allowed for Brophy to even hold a Summit this year, letting the important talks and conversations of serious topics such as racial justice continue.