Souhegan High School Ethics Forum to hold HYPE conference at UNH

Friday, March 6, 2020

The Hosting Young Philosophy Enthusiasts Conference, or HYPE, will be held on Thurs., March 19, 2020, at the Hamel Recreation Center at UNH, beginning at 9:00 a.m. Over 1200 students from New England high schools are expected to attend this annual event where students discuss philosophical topics centered on ethics and civil discourse.  

This year’s conference topic is perception and bias in society. The essential question for consideration will be “How do external factors influence and form our bias?” The day will begin with an introduction and charge 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.

HYPE was founded by seniors from Souhegan High School in Amherst, N.H., in 2009 as an opportunity for high school students to have meaningful philosophical discussions. Program participation has grown ten-fold since then. In addition to Souhegan students, HYPE leadership now includes students from Spaulding High School in Rochester, N.H.; Manchester Central High School in Manchester, N.H.; Gilford High School in Gilford, N.H.; and Oyster River High School in Durham, N.H.   

A coalition of sponsors supporting HYPE include the New Hampshire Humanities, the New Hampshire Institute for Civics Education, Merrimack College, St. Anselm College, Granite State College, the University of New Orleans and the University of New Hampshire.

HYPE has received a UNH RGSCP (Responsible Governance and Sustainable Citizenship Project) grant as well as support from the UNH Philosophy Department and College of Liberal Arts. The Souhegan Ethics Forum was awarded the 2014 Granite State Award by the University System of New Hampshire for the group’s “dedication to creating an academically rich environment for New Hampshire students to connect through philosophical discussions.” HYPE was given a commendation in 2017 by UNH Innovations.