4/23/2014 10:21:00 AM

Social Justice Conference Inspires

Thursday, April 25, 2013

By Elise Fernandez '13

Siena College’s Office of Academic Community Engagement (ACE) and The Bonner Foundation hosted Inspire 2013 earlier this month. More than 300 people from the northeast and beyond came together during the three-day conference to discuss topics related to social justice.

“Our goal is to challenge, refresh and reinvigorate our commitment to the community engagement initiatives not only for the Capital Region but in the world,” said ACE’s Coordinator of Quality Assurance and Youth Programs April Risley ’12.

There were workshops geared toward young professionals, community partners, administrators, faculty and students. Conference attendees could participate in 32 interactive workshops throughout the weekend. They focused on networking, resume building, health care and social justice within and outside the workforce.

“One of our workshops that I’m really excited for is a college access workshop,” said Anne Ward ’14. “We are working on education, college access, health care and working in the health profession as a leader of social justice.” Ward added that the networking and resume building workshops would be beneficial for Siena College students.

Inspire 2013 was also an opportunity for a diverse group of leaders to come together to talk about making advancements in a variety of areas, including creating inclusive environments for the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) community, creating international partnerships, addressing career challenges and planning for the future.

“The theme this year: ‘Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly; we make the road by walking.’ That’s our slogan for the weekend and it’s basically a reflection on how you can make the path by walking,” said Ward. “Social justice happens by doing, so we’re just trying to use that kind of mentality.”

During a group session, students from Siena and other colleges in New Jersey, Virginia and Rhode Island brainstormed on ways to help their communities through service.

“We have learned a lot from others through the different workshops,” said Ward. “The main focus we are trying to work on is keeping an open mind and raising awareness.”

Organizers hope the all participants will be able to bring what they learned back to their respective communities and inspire others to become advocates for positive change.

Contact: Ken Jubie
Contact E-mail: communications@siena.edu

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