Question Everything is a new residential summer philosophy program for high school students from Massachusetts that will debut in 2021. Participants will spend two weeks on the UMass Amherst campus to get a taste of college and explore the exciting world of philosophical thought. They will live in university dormitories, eat in UMass’s award-winning dining halls, and have access to recreational facilities and libraries. During the weekdays, they will gather with program instructors to discover exciting philosophical issues in a fun and supportive environment through dialogue, role-play, debates, guest lectures, and research projects. In the evenings and during the weekend, the students will participate in social activities as well as college preparedness programming organized by UMass’s Summer Programs office.
The program will target students from lower-income families, as well as students from racial or ethnic groups that are underrepresented in higher education. All admitted participants will automatically receive a full scholarship that covers room, board, fees, all academic and social activities, and transportation. Question Everything will aim to foster a college-going mindset in participants, increase their intellectual curiosity, spark a lifelong interest in philosophy, improve their critical thinking and reasoning abilities, and help them with the college application process.
Part of what is exciting about this new program is that we have already raised a significant portion of the money that will be required to fund the first year. Mass Humanities has awarded Question Everything a grant of $15,000 for next summer’s program, which means that between now and March of 2021 we need to raise at least another $15,000. That amount would allow us to cover room and board for 14 participants, and to hire two graduate students as the primary instructors. Each additional $1,500 beyond our minimum target of $15,000 will allow us to admit one additional student. We feel that the ideal number of students for the program is 20, so ideally we would like to raise $24,000 to add to the grant from Mass Humanities. (Right now things are promising for the summer of 2021, but if the pandemic makes it impossible to run the program on campus next year, we may run it as a day camp in Springfield, or we may postpone for a year. But either way, any funds we raise through this campaign will all go toward this program.)
We realize that there are many great ways to give back to the world, but we hope you will see this particular charitable opportunity as an ideal way to make a difference in the lives of some talented high school students, and also as a way to support Philosophy.
Note: Question Everything is a part of our Philosophy in Public Schools (PiPS) program. For more information on PiPS, please go to https://www.umass.edu/philosophy/pips.