Allyship, Activism, and Corporate Social Responsibility

11:00 - 11:50 a.m., Thursday, September 22, 2022
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What does it mean to be an ally? Individually, one’s outward behavior such as joining a march, wearing a shirt, or changing a profile picture can signal intent on membership for authentic activism. Or a corporation may promote social or environmental contributions via a consumer’s purchase or implementation of green business practices. However, what happens when these gestures are more about self-gratification than aiding the causes that it intends to highlight? Some firms will engage in empty promises and hollow campaigns because it gains attention and attracts more customers. While the terminology may be new, “performative allyship” by individuals and businesses alike may obscure and unintentionally do more harm to the cause. As consumers, how can we hold firms accountable for their words to be consistent with their deeds?  Should businesses be required to not only share what they stand for but also show what they stand up for?  How can we ensure our words are met with positive action, both as concerned citizens and critical consumers?

Host:  Devin Schehrer     Q&A Moderator:  Courtney Pham


Fashion Designer and Educator Edmund Green Langdell

Edmund Green Langdell

Fashion Designer and Educator

Visiting Professor, Crans Montana, Switzerland Nancy Landrum

Nancy Landrum

Visiting Professor, Crans Montana, Switzerland
Les Roches Global Hospitality Education

Senior Lecturer, English Rob Spirko

Rob Spirko

Senior Lecturer, English
The University of Tennessee Knoxville