HYPE conference draws 1,100 students

HYPE (Hosting Young Philosophy Enthusiasts), a student-led philosophical initiative founded by students at Souhegan High School and guided by Chris Brooks, director of the Ethics Forum there, hosted its 8th student conference on March 16 at the University of New Hampshire for a day of challenging Socratic discussions led by their peers.

A growing national student movement to study philosophy as a way to build the skills of critical thinking, respectful dialogue, and reasoned debate is reflected in the explosive growth of HYPE, which drew more than 1,100 students and their teachers from 48 schools around the state this year to talk and reason together about what it means to be a responsible citizen. The critical thinking it inspires improves problem-solving capacity and nuanced thinking about difficult issues, and the study and practice of philosophy feeds our young peoples’ desire to know, to think, and to reason together.

“HYPE gives students the opportunity to think about ideas in new ways. It can help spark people’s imagination and their curiosity to learn more than what they’ve been taught in school,” explained one of HYPE’s student facilitators.

“Thanks to all of you who helped to pull off another awe-inspiring HYPE conference. It never gets old seeing that many local high school students fired up about philosophy and wearing Aristotle quotes on their backs,” said Nick Smith, J.D./Ph.D., Professor and Chairperson of the UNH Department of Philosophy which hosted the event. “It was also great to have the support of our friends at NH Humanities and to share this event during these challenging times.”

“Many of us only see the one day of HYPE… but it is the tip of the iceberg of years of good education in philosophy and leadership.”

Congratulations, HYPE!