CANCELED: HYPE (Hosting Young Philosophy Enthusiasts) Conference (Canceled)

Thursday, March 19, 2020
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Hamel Recreation Center
Event Type
Brooks, Chris

 11th Anniversary of Annual HYPE Conference
 2020 Topic: Perception and Bias in Society

How do external factors influence and form our bias? Approximately 1,200 high school students will discuss this essential question during the annual HYPE Conference hosted by Souhegan High School’s Ethics Forum on March 19, 2020. 

HYPE stands for “Hosting Young Philosophy Enthusiasts” and was founded by Souhegan seniors in 2009 as an opportunity for high school students to have meaningful philosophical discussions centered on philosophical topics centered on ethics and civil discourse.  HYPE is unique because it is an authentic high school student conference created, designed and led by high school students for high school students.  The HYPE project and its affiliated student voice and leadership programs, provides students from all over the greater New England region, the chance to have discussions at large and small student-led conferences at a number of venues in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  Based on the educational tenets of Souhegan High School, the great tradition of socratic dialogue endorsed by the University of New Hampshire Durham’s department of philosophy and the directives of St. Anselm College’s ethics and leadership training, students discuss important issues and topics not only with their peers but also with experts who help to shape their ideas and perspectives.

Conference participants will meet at the Hamel Recreation Center on the UNH campus in Durham, NH. Registration begins at 8:00 AM EDT with the conference commencing at 9:00 AM EDT.  The day will begin with an introduction and charge given by Dr. Maria Sanders, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Coordinator of the Philosophy program at Plymouth State University.  Sessions for students and educators will be ongoing throughout the morning centered on the issue of the day as well as suggestions on how to formulate effective student leadership groups that have at their core philosophical inquiry, ethical responsibility and civic action.

When this program began in 2010 at Souhegan High School, Amherst, NH, the HYPE conference had approximately 120 students in attendance.  As we enter our 11th year in 2020, over 1,200 student will attend.  A major coalition of important sponsors are responsible for HYPE’s success.  These supporters include:

  • the New Hampshire Humanities, Concord, NH,
  • the New Hampshire Institute for Civics Education, Concord, NH,
  • Merrimack College, North Andover, MA,
  • St. Anselm College, Manchester, NH,
  • Granite State College, Concord, NH,
  • the University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA,
  • the University of New Hampshire, Manchester, NH, and
  • the University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH.   

As part of the HYPE program’s development, seven years ago, HYPE received a renewable prestigious RGSCP (Responsible Governance and Sustainability Citizenship Project) Grant from UNH Durham to fund HYPE and to expand its programming.  This grant has led to the UNH philosophy department endorsement of the Souhegan Ethics Forum, the generous support of UNH Durham’s COLA (College of Liberal Arts) and the use of the UNH Durham campus each year for this major conference event.  As a result of HYPE’s ongoing success, the Souhegan Ethics Forum was awarded the 2014 Granite State Award by the NH University System for the group’s “dedication to creating an academically rich environment for New Hampshire students to connect through philosophical discussions” through the HYPE program.  In 2017, HYPE was given a commendation from the UNH Innovations Division.   

The HYPE program includes a number of schools that are involved in helping Souhegan High School students with the leadership decisions and the carrying out of important tasks that must be accomplished in order to make March 19th successful.  Student leaders from Spaulding High School in Rochester, NH, Manchester Central High School in Manchester, NH,Gilford High School in Gilford, NH, and Oyster River in Durham, NH, are actively involved, functioning as facilitation leaders for small group discussions during HYPE. 

Schools interested in this program should contact Christopher Brooks, coordinator of the HYPE program, through the following e-mail: 

"HYPE" above lightbulb, scale with "Ethics" on one side and "Forum" on the other, UNH COLA logo
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