WVU Extension Service

How Social Justice Affects You

At work, do you want to feel accepted? Appreciated? Respected? Like you can be yourself?

When you feel that you’re unaccepted, unappreciated, disrespected or that you can’t be yourself, do you feel hurt? Angry? Misunderstood?


We all want to feel accepted, valued and respected by others. Abraham Maslow recognized this need when he established the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in his 1954 book Motivation and Personality. His hierarchy sets forth 5 layers of human needs ranging from the most basic “physiological” needs to “self-actualization” needs. The need for identity was established from Manfred Max-Neef, Antonio Elizalde and Martin Hopenhayn in their classification of the fundamental human needs. They explain that the “Human Scale Development” is a system whereby the human needs are interrelated and interactive. Their “identity” focuses on the sense of belonging, self-esteem and consistency.

How do we make sure that we feel important? By showing that we accept, appreciate, and respect others for both their similarities and differences.

Social Justice is not a new concept. In 1840, Jesuit Luigi Taparelli devised the term and concept of “social justice” from the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Social Justice at West Virginia University is more than just a single program, activity, or person. It defines how we do our work – every day. Each WVU-ES employee should strive to reach and adequately serve underrepresented and non-traditional audiences in all 55 counties.

This can be accomplished by developing new and creative strategies to recognize, respect and support both the differences and similarities among co-workers and clientele. This establishes a global inclusion for the workplace and society in general. By creating an inclusive environment, Extension Service will support WVU’s Strategic Plan and build a culture of employee engagement, teamwork and equity.

By recognizing, respecting and supporting co-workers and clientele our productivity will improve because we will be able to work more efficiently and effectively with one another.

“To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we much put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.” ~Confucius