Awareness Day helps students move beyond the classroom to engage with a variety of issues of concern to today’s youth. Regular classes are suspended for the day as students listen to presentations and participate in workshops that address contemporary topics ranging from personal concerns such as habits for a healthy lifestyle and dealing with stress to global concerns such as human trafficking and global warming.
Dynamic speakers from the local community, area service agencies, and environmental groups as well as current AHA Students and AHA Alumnae help raise student consciousness and challenge them to take action on what they have heard.
Themes for the annual Awareness Day focus on presenting various components of Catholic Social Teaching and rotate over a 4-year cycle that includes: Personal Development, Catholic Social Teaching, Global Awareness and the Environment. Workshops not only address important issues but present ways in which students can respond through acting locally as well as advocating for structural change.
Awareness Day is always thought provoking. The concerns and insights live on long after the day is over as these important themes continue to be integrated into the curriculum and ongoing extracurricular activities. In response to Awareness Day, students are eager to take specific steps to make the world better.
In 2008, students expressed their desire to spread awareness of topics such as human trafficking, become more sensitive to global issues, visit people in immigration detention centers, participate in the One campaign, volunteer time to help others in need, join or start a club such as Operation Smile or Angels Over Africa that address world issues, spread the word about the Earth Charter and U.N. Millennium Goals, support legislation that promote just international policies, buy fair trade items and purchase handcrafted items made by women in developing countries.
In 2007 students pledged 633 actions and promised to take care of and respect the earth, conserve energy, change light bulbs, use less bottled water, recycle, purchase high mileage or hybrid cars, shop for conflict-free diamonds, make legislators aware of their stand on environmental issues, and buy green products.