WashU and the Gephardt Institute are proud to announce that it will host the 33rd annual IMPACT National Conference in 2017 at the Washington University campus. The conference, which seeks to “connect, educate, and mobilize college students, nonprofit professionals, and educators to strengthen their communities through service, action, advocacy,” is the largest gathering in the country focused on the civic engagement of college students in community service, service-learning, community-based research, advocacy and other forms of social action. Campus members can expect to hear from inspirational keynote speakers who will share their own civic pathways to presentations from student organizations and professionals sharing best practices from their own campus communities.
To give you a sense of what to expect, check out the reviews from some of our own WashU participants, who were among the more than 600 participants in the 2016 conference:
Meg Detwiler, Campus Y Student Representative
“IMPACT was my first time attending a conference of its type, and the experience of being surrounded by so many other people passionate about improving the world we live in was truly incredible. The speakers we heard challenged me to think in new ways about issues that plague our society today, defining these issues in a manner I’d never considered before, and the workshops I attended provided practical ways to implement better civic engagement in my life and on my campus. One workshop addressed the distinction between serving in a community and actually engaging with the community, stressing the importance of an educational approach to the issues we address and a deep connection with the people and communities we impact when we serve. That is my hope for WashU, that we can better help students to relate to our community on a more profound level and that we can equip them with the knowledge of real-world issues that will enable them to make a real difference.”
Lauren Chelew, Gephardt Scholar for K-12 and Youth Initiatives
“It was amazing to be part of something bigger than myself. The IMPACT Conference brought together students and professionals from across the country dedicated to making change on their college campuses and in their communities. The passion, thoughtfulness, and innovation that each individual brought created a fulcrum for social innovation that not only provided me with best practices that I could bring back to WashU, but also shifted my perspective entirely in the way I look at community and civic engagement. I learned how to conduct meetings that were liberating from traditional power dynamics, discussed the power of word choice in promoting social justice, practiced ways to work with others who may not think like I do, and contemplated the true meaning of freedom as a human right. Never before had I felt such an energy being amidst so many dedicated, thoughtful, and committed students and professionals working in partnership to solve our world’s most pressing issues. I cannot wait to see what next year brings here at WashU!”
The conference will be Thursday, February 16 to Sunday, February 19, 2017. There will be opportunities to receive submissions from our campus community for potential workshops and programs. Please stay tuned for more information regarding the conference details, as well as potential volunteer opportunities to assist in the planning and development of the conference. For more information about the conference visit here or contact La’Rez Wilson, Manager of K-12 and Youth Initiatives.