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Mission and Vision

The Ethics and the Common Good Project cultivates collaborative, ethical leaders who reflectively engage in creating a more equitable and resilient world.

The "common good" evokes many rich and divergent understandings. For ECG, pursuing the “common good” includes, but is not limited to, recognizing our interdependence and enhancing human and nonhuman flourishing. This pursuit is a process that invites us to imagine and practice more generative and equitable ways of relating to ourselves, each other, and all elements found in nature. This process requires us to engage in robust and honest dialogue about legacies of dominance and inequity, as well as resistance and resilience, and to pursue justice for living and non-living things.

The "ethics" in our name refers to ECG's commitment to evaluating the values at work in our world today from a communal and liberatory perspective. This commitment compels us to critically examine our ethos, character, and modes of life as they intersect meaningfully with one another and our environments. It also involves exploration of and engagement with everyday issues, in all their collective complexity. ECG's own work is consciously rooted in the values of honesty, humility, vulnerability, transformation, interdependence, inclusion, courage, and curiosity, as well as the practices of reflection and reevaluation, innovation, and empathy.

Through the sponsorship of leadership workshops, courses, student internships, research projects, community-based initiatives, public lectures, and other events, ECG supports both intellectual and practical inquiry into the reality of the common good and the best means of pursuing it. ECG aims to equip students, faculty, and staff with the skills and knowledge to actively engage with these questions, and to view their own pursuits—as activists and scholars, artists, and scientists—as contributing to the common good. ECG encourages the development of movements, communities of practice, institutions, policies, and economic activities that contribute to the common good. ECG also helps community members to develop the collaborative, communication, and leadership skills to be effective and engaged ethical agents of positive change.

Goals

  1. Support people in evaluating the social and ethical implications of beliefs, policies, and actions and in developing ethical values that guide both their personal and public lives.
  2. Collectively learn to take actions, inhabit practices, and pursue livelihoods that contribute to the common good.
  3. Critically examine the current implications, historical legacies, and future potentials of social institutions and economic systems.
  4. Encourage the innovative development of institutions, economic activities, and systems that contribute to the common good.
  5. Help develop new forms of collaboration among students, faculty, staff, and the wider community.

Values and Commitments

We believe in the following

Equity: The social systems and institutions on which we all depend must work in a manner that benefits all parties and that ensures equitable access and voice for all. Conversely, such systems and institutions must not marginalize, exclude, exploit, or oppress any group, individual, organism, or element found in nature.

The Commons: Cultural, artistic, scientific, and natural resources should be valued and protected for their own sake, as well as preserved for current and future generations as part of our shared heritage.

Sustainability: We need to cultivate visions and practices of resilience and abundance  that are rooted in concern for human and ecological flourishing. An economy driven by the accumulation of wealth among a very few has had devastating effects on people and our environment.

Community: A community is a collective rallied around shared ideals and identities. True communities resist insularity and exclusion, working instead to take mutual responsibility,  create hospitable spaces, and enhance the permeability of their borders.

We therefore dedicate ourselves to

Praxis: Identifying and working with the theory and practices that best serve the common good, especially when these are generated by those most affected by any given inequality. We commit to listen, to learn, and to join in the work.

Reflection and Accountability: Attending to both the values and actions we consciously endorse and those we unconsciously manifest. We commit to resist our own complicity in diminishing the common good.

Shared Leadership and Collaboration: Becoming collaborative leaders, co-practitioners of risk and imagination. We commit to build integrated networks of people, with varied resources and strengths, who are invested in new futures of care.

Starting with Ourselves and Our Own Communities: We commit to examine our own motivations and transform our own actions as the first step in a larger movement of change.

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Ethics and the Common Good Program
Mail Code CSI
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002