Ethical Reflections in College
A fun photo from Washington D.C., alongside a Spring 2020 presentation for the Daniels Inclusive Excellence Case Competition, where our team encouraged Zayo to pursue a women's empowerment intiative and was recognized with a 3rd place award.
My freshman year, I asked the now-DU Chancellor if he thought "Ethics could be taught?" His answer was he thought it could be through case studies. I now agree that reflective thinking and identifying blindspots in decision-making can be taught, having taken great courses, such as Business Ethics and my Ethics Captsone Course in the Pioneer Leadership Program. One model that we used in PLP freshman year and then repeated junior year in the Capstone class, was the Ethics Game. This is a model with four lenses: responsibilities, relationships, results, and reputation, which relate to how one makes decisions. Freshman year, I fell in the middle between the rights and responsibilities and result lenses. When doing the assessment again in the final quarter of junior year, I am slightly more in the rights and responsibilities category. My suspicion is that I have furthered solidified the relationship between my faith and my personal life, and I am committed to not compromising those principles. In this case, my uncompromising nature, and my call for temperance may be interpreted as inflexible or legalistic. When it comes to ethical situations, I tend to have a lower tolerance. This is okay with my professional life and in many situations with others. However, I also have to remember there is also value in certain situations to say, restorative justice approaches, which I learned as a founding member of Lone Tree Teen Court in high school. This program emphasizes repairing the harm and giving teens who commit a first-time misdeamnor a second chance to excel.
To me, ethics is inseparable from my Christian faith. Coming to college, I wanted to grow not only academically and professionally, but also spiritually. I knew spiritually was on a decline, and so I joined a campus faith-group at DU and then one when abroad at the University of Glasgow. On connecting my work and my faith, I once wrote: "my faith guides me to learn more languages to communicate with and serve more people, using the tools of economics and policy. It guides me to reflect on my relationship with resources and to never stop wondering how I can invest in people and help others do the same. It calls me to create hope and healing in a financial system predicated on trust. Politics, finance, and culture – topics people often avoid – enrich communities and are fundamental to my story."
In addition to my faith, fascinating formal models in the Ethics Leadership Capstone that encourage one to consider alternative perspectives and on connecting one's work with purpose and prioritizing one's activities at Ethics Boot Camp, one simple test I use was from the Chief Ethics Officer of U.S. Bank. She says that simply if one cannot tell one's grandma about something, then that cannot be the right decision. Our gut when it comes to ethics is usually the right one. I did not have many chances to apply these frameworks with ethical dilemmas while in college. This was as I was intentional of the intiatives and groups I was involved in. I will, however, remain steadfast in my values as a professional. While I did not have many opportunities to use these tools, I have contemplated on how ethics irelates my faith, i.e. how to be good stewards of funds as a Treasurer of a faith group my sophmore year. I have also thought about ethics in contemproary events, such as in discussing vaccine passports and in training freshman as an orientation leader. Specific to business, I do believe businesses should consider broad stakeholders and that sustainable finance will be invaluable in decarbonizing economies. After my time at DU, I commit to continuing to live a life with integrity and principles. I commit to having the courage to own up to mistakes, because I am certainly not perfect. And finally, I commit to help those I can with the opportunities and gifts I have been given.