JAM, which stands for Justice And Mercy, is the core of social justice initiatives at St Aloysius College. Students and staff in the group focus on educating themselves about social and political issues, and then relaying this information to the rest of the school community via awareness and fund-raising campaigns.
The JAM group consists of anywhere between 20 and 100 young social activists, from years 4-12, who are passionate about making a difference locally and internationally. They meet once a week to discuss up and coming social and environmental events and brainstorm ways that St Aloysius College can get involved.
Within the group, primary and secondary students collaborate, educate, and learn from one another in a hands-on environment. The group gives students the chance to steer the focus towards their own interests, take a leadership position within smaller groups, and develop a passion for both environmental and social justice in our world. JAM is a community that upholds SAC’s values of mercy and fosters global thinkers, who enter a world after school with an overarching knowledge on how to make a difference and how to create real change starting with small actions.
Adelaide Day Centre
Students at St Aloysius College have the opportunity to be part of weekly lunch-time volunteering at the Adelaide Day Centre. Students develop a hands-on connection to faith through their experiences working with the centre’s volunteers to chop vegetables, prepare soup, sort blankets and supplies and butter bread.
Winter Sleep Out
The social justice coordinators host a Winter Sleep Out each year for the year 12 cohort. In this space, taboos and stereotypes surrounding homelessness are discussed, with students participating in activities that address power and privilege.
Pipalyatjara Community Support
JAM organises clothing drives and fundraisers in support of the Pipalyatjara community in the APY lands. Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week are also events that play a pivotal role in the group’s social justice calendar, times where students seek to engage in dialogue about reconciliation and explore how we can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.
As an inclusive school community, Refugee Week is a pivotal event for JAM. It is a time to celebrate the refugees in our school community and to give thanks for all they contribute to our Australian society. JAM runs activities to raise awareness of the plight of refugees and to advocate for vulnerable refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia.
JAM students have been participating in environmental advocacy through such events as School Strikes for Climate. Staff and JAM students gathered outside Adelaide Parliament house to hear speakers and rally for better governance surrounding climate change. We also undertake a number of small initiatives within the school surrounding environmental awareness such as our school garden patches, where we grow herbs and vegetables for the Adelaide Day Centre.
During Fair Trade fortnight, the JAM group runs a Fair-Trade coffee and hot chocolate stall each morning before school. The aim is to spark conversations about the cause and to raise awareness of the ways that students and staff can participate in more ethical shopping as consumers.
Social Justice Coordinator
St Aloysius College employs a social justice coordinator to facilitate JAM meetings, assist students in the planning and running of fundraisers and initiatives, and connect students and staff with external justice-related opportunities.
This coordinator position has been held by St Aloysius College old scholars since 2014. The fact that so many graduates have come back after Year 12 is testament to their Mercy education at SAC, one which fosters leadership, passion, global awareness, and the skills to be able to create change in our community.
By Clare Peterson, JAM Coordinator 2018-2021