Wednesday, March 28, 2012

IMPACT Conference starts tomorrow

Stetson University will host the 28th annual IMPACT Conference, a national conference focusing on service, civic engagement and advocacy, Thursday, March 29, through Sunday, April 1. About 600 college students, faculty and staff members from all over theUnited States are planning to attend, including 150 Stetson students.

Registration is still open; information: http://www.impactconference.org. The cost is $190 for students; $200 non-students.

Participants attend workshops on a wide variety of subjects, seeking common ground across issues, ideology, geography and philosophy of social change for the annual conference. Conservative, moderate and liberal students attend, addressing issues such as hunger and homelessness, climate change, community economic development, health and global topics.

“Stetson has had representatives at the Impact Conference for at least six years, and our participation has strengthened our commitment to the community, the natural environment, diversity and efforts toward social justice,” said Savannah-Jane Griffin, associate director of Community Engagement at Stetson. “We’re looking forward to welcoming others who share our values and want to learn how to make an impact on the world.”

The conference will feature internationally known speakers and 80 workshops. Speakers include master teacher and enthusiastic communicator Dr. Adolph Brown, aka “The World’s Greatest Edu-tainer,” recognized as one ofAmerica’s leading authorities on Educational Excellence and Leadership Development and a panel of speakers focusing on immigration and farm workers’ rights.

Stetson will present seven of the workshops, including a modern-day slavery panel discussion featuring students, faculty, and human services organizations; Politics 101: How to elect the change you want; “Education Under Fire” addressing the right to education in Iran; and “Heroes are Made: The Motivation Within” focusing on building leadership skills and motivation in difficult situations.

An Opportunities Fair will give national nonprofit organizations a chance to promote internships, job and volunteer opportunities.

As a kick-off to the conference, a group of conference attendees will take a trip to Lake Woodruff and Deleon Springs to participate in a service project where they will learn about the invasive species that are affecting our local ecosystem.

“The different programs offer ways to get more involved in specific issues and to make an impact on your community and explain how to get other students involved and how to mobilize,”Griffin said. “It’s also a great networking opportunity for students because they’re around people who are passionate about the same things they are.”

Stetson has a strong commitment to service-learning and civic engagement through its academic courses, and many student organizations provide service to the community through extracurricular activities. The university has hosted a number of conferences, including the 2011 IMPACT Conference and the Bonner Summer Leadership Institute in 2009. Through a partnership with the philanthropic Corella & Bertram F. Bonner Foundation of Princeton, N.J., Stetson supports an active Bonner Scholars program that involves undergraduates in service learning, community engagement and leadership training. Stetson is the only Bonner school in Florida.

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