Students are the core of Austin Seminary, and they have historically been sources of cultural change and spurred new ideas and movements.
Beginning in the 1990s, African American Austin Seminary students have come together in official and unofficial groups to enjoy fellowship, advocate for one another, and plan activities that celebrate and support students of color on campus.
Since then, student groups continue to form and evolve, holding a shared goal of enhancing the Seminary experience for students of color and Austin Seminary as a whole.
Groups like the Racial Ethnic Fellowship (formed in the mid-1990s), help to lead the way for the founding of the Multicultural Student Fellowship (later the Multicultural Student Association) in the early 2000s. These groups hold forums such as "Racial and Cultural Issues in Ministry," and work to open conversation about how to address issues of marginalization in the Presbyterian church.
Starting in 2014, the African American Student Group and the Hispanic Student Association (now the African and African Descendent Student Group and the Latinx Student Association) founded the HESED Lecture Series, an annual lectureship with the purpose of promoting awareness and church involvement in the area of social justice, thus enabling "hesed," the Hebrew word for justice, lovingkindness, and mercy.
Past lecture topics include:
2014: "Youth Violence in Urban Centers"
2015: "Building Safe Neighborhoods"
2016: "Which Lives Matter?"
2017: "The Politics of Care"
2018: "The High Costs of Economics and Power"