Social Justice

Social Justice is Foundational to Holy Names

In 1868, the Sisters of Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) founded our school to provide access to education for young women to continue the tradition of improving all lives through knowledge and the promotion of justice. From service-learning to immersion days and campus ministry projects, we foster an awareness of and motivation to help those in need or who, based on gender, race, culture, age, or economic disadvantage, lack equitable access to food, health services, education, and more.  The concept of social justice and the practice of building community is encapsulated in our school motto: Noblesse Oblige. Generations of Holy Names graduates have carried this obligation to serve as a calling to promote justice and equality.   

Service Learning

Twice a year, students work off-campus to benefit a non-profit or serve marginalized or disadvantaged communities. Students drive the selection of the program or recipients of this work after working with Campus Ministry to learn more about local challenges and opportunities for action.

Culturally Relevant Curriculum

Our faculty reviews all curriculum and our source documents, textbooks, literature, and content to ensure that students can see themselves and their experiences reflected in the curriculum. We are committed to improving this practice every year, with the goal of relevant and accessible content in every class, across all disciplines. We are committed to improving the knowledge and awareness of the People of the Global Majority.

Youth Justice Forum

This forum is a collaborative, international program for SNJM schools in the US, Canada, and Africa.  Held every three years, its purpose is to facilitate student-led action that positively impacts communities affected by water access, immigration, and human trafficking, the three pillars of the SNJM  social justice platform. The most recent forum, held at Holy Names University in Oakland, resulted in a presentation of the adverse effects of human trafficking in Oakland.  Each SNJM school used that knowledge as a model to spread awareness and make an impact in their own communities.