Changing the World in Peace

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April summit teaches attendees strategies to engage in the community

On April 6, the McCall Center for Civic Engagement will host its first Annual Spirit of Civic Engagement Summit, with the theme being “Balanced Activism: Staying Engaged without Being Consumed.” The event is open only to students, faculty, and community partners who are invited and it will take place in multiple buildings around campus from 9 am to 1 pm. 

   The summit will feature five guest speakers, including non-profit and civic representatives, elected officials, academics, and student affairs professionals. One speaker will be Pacific University Assistant Professor Adelle Monteblanco, who teaches public health. She will host a workshop about hot-button social topics, which is actually the title of her talk. Other guest speakers include Akasha Lawrence Spence, a former state senator for Oregon, and Leialoha Kaʻula, executive director of Ka ʻAha Lāhui O ʻOlekona Hawaiian Civic Club (KALO), located in Beaverton. 

   “We are bringing together students, faculty, staff, and community partners who are already actively involved in the work of civic engagement, activism, and change-making (versus those who might just be interested in learning more about it),” said Morgan Knapp, program manager of applied and experiential learning at the MCCE. “We think of this event as an opportunity for community building, shared learning, and professional development.” Knapp politely declined sharing more details about what the talks will include as they are still being worked on as of writing this article. “I can say that the format of the workshops will vary, with some being based on storytelling, some on personal reflection activities, and some on guided conversation,” she said.

   The workshops are structured to allow attendees to choose which they want to go to. The event is split up into three parts, the first two being workshop sessions which provide two one-hour workshops to choose from. In the third part, attendees will come together to listen to the keynote speaker, chair of the Oregon Arts Commission, and former creative laureate of Portland Subashini Ganesan-Forbes, talk about the artistic process of civic engagement. Ganesan-Forbes will talk for 30 minutes, and then various announcements will be given, including a presentation of the Bevin McCarthy Spirit of Civic Engagement award, which is connected to the school’s Bevin McCarthy Endowed Program Support Fund. More information about the fund can be found on the university website. 

   The amount of attendees who will be invited is likely due to the amount of people who can fit into the room for the keynote speaker. “Attendance is by invitation only because we are only able to accommodate 60 attendees, and we wanted to give Pacific University’s faculty an opportunity to recognize students who are making an impact on our campus,” Knapp explained. “It also means we can actually fit into classrooms, because we are sharing the campus that day and event space is tight here!” 

   Ultimately, invitees will benefit from what the summit will provide to them: complimentary breakfast and lunch, five notable community members with a breadth of knowledge about civic engagement, and an opportunity to get to know people who have similar interests. For those who haven’t been invited, the MCCE has programs and events that can help students stay active in the community in a positive way. Visit the MCCE website or their office at AuCoin Hall for more information.

   “Folks often feel overwhelmed at the scale of problems, and think that if they don’t throw their whole entire selves into the work they are letting themselves or other people down,” Knapp said. “We hope to help participants look for ways to engage with big problems in a way that respects them as whole people and contributes to a sense of wellbeing and impact, without necessarily leading to burnout or hopelessness.”


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