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Home: Welcome

The HYPE Conference

Hosting Young Philosophy Enthusiasts


The Need-To-Know Info (2024):

         This year the HYPE Program will be at the UNH Durham Campus on Thursday, March 21st, 2024

         EQ: How does self-perception affect how we interact with the world around us?

Quick Links:

HYPE 101:

     The HYPE Conference started as a Senior Project back in 2009 that was hosted in a hallway at Souhegan High School with only a handful of students. HYPE is an opportunity for high school students to have meaningful philosophical discussions centered on philosophical topics centered on ethics and civil discourse. From that hallway, we have grown to host 1,200 students and faculty, who are interested in student voice and leadership, at our University of New Hampshire Durham venue. HYPE takes philosophy out of the classroom and puts it directly in students’ hands. Each year, participants travel to UNH for a day of intense discussion and philosophical debate centered on a guiding question. This past year's Essential Question was supposed to be"How do external factors influence and form our biases?" however HYPE 2020 was canceled due to the pandemic.

    HYPE is unique because not only is the conference an incredible experience for the students who attend, but it is also a huge step for Souhegan and Spaulding High School Seniors, as the conference is almost entirely student-run and designed, aside from our academic and faculty advisers. These Seniors have put in countless hours of their free time to produce a product that is comparable to the professional world outside of high school. This is a leadership experience unlike any other, and alumni take this experience and apply it to wherever their endeavors take them. The HYPE program hosts over 30 different schools from across the North East region, and Souhegan receives help organizing the event from student leaders from Spaulding High School in Rochester, NH; Manchester Central High School in Manchester, NH; Derryfield Academy in Manchester, NH; Gilford High School in Gilford, NH; and Oyster River in Durham, NH, are actively involved, functioning as facilitation leaders for small group discussions during HYPE.

     The HYPE project and its affiliated programs fall under STAND or “Students Taking A New Direction". Under the guidance of St. Anselm College’s Center for Ethics in Business and Governance, this program provides students from all over the greater New England region, the chance to have discussions at large and small student-led conferences at a number of venues in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Based on the educational tenets of Souhegan High School, the great tradition of Socratic dialogue endorsed by the UNH Durham’s department of philosophy and the directives of St. Anselm College’s ethics and leadership training, students discuss important issues and topics not only with their peers but also with experts who help to shape their ideas and perspectives.

     Over the past decade or so, the HYPE Conference has been acknowledged and supported by a number of institutions and organizations including Merrimack College in North Andover, MA; St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH; Granite State College in Concord, NH; the University of New Orleans in New Orleans, LA; the University of New Hampshire in Manchester, NH and in Durham, NH; and Colby-Sawyer College in New London, NH. As part of the HYPE program’s development HYPE was awarded a renewable prestigious RGSCP (Responsible Governance and Sustainability Citizenship Project) Grant from UNH Durham to fund HYPE. This grant has led to the UNH philosophy department endorsement of the Ethics Forum, the generous support of UNH Durham’s COLA (College of Liberal Arts) and the use of the UNH Durham campus each year for this flagship event. As a result of HYPE’s ongoing success, the Souhegan Ethics Forum was awarded the 2014 Granite State Award by the NH University System for the group’s “dedication to creating an academically rich environment for New Hampshire students to connect through philosophical discussions” through the HYPE program. In 2017, HYPE was given a commendation from the UNH Innovations Division.

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