The Fall 2023 PHIL 130 Ethics course--taught by Professor Amanda Roth--has completed an applied learning project on ethics and charitable giving. After studying a unit on the moral obligation to make sacrifices to help others in need and the effective altruism movement, students engaged in a group project selecting a charity for which to advocate. Each group was initially provided with $200 to direct to the charity of their choice--subject to an in-class "caucus" activity which would eliminate some of the charities--and were tasked with creating advertisements supporting their favored charity.
On "caucus" day students attempted to persuade others to join their charity through multiple rounds of discussion and opportunities to join with other groups and take funds with them to direct to other charities than their original choice. Each voluntary switch to another charity added more to the total amount of money that would be donated. In addition, if the entire class came to a consensus on one charity, the total amount of money would reach $1800. Indeed, after 40 minutes of intense discussion and argument, students converged on one charity, Partners in Health, and directed the entire sum of money there. (This project was supported by the Geneseo Foundation.)