WHERE TO LEARN THREE WORDS THAT CAN HELP YOU CHANGE YOUR CAMPUS AND COMMUNITY

November 21, 2018

By Angela Cain

The words are simple and easy to understand, but they pack a powerful punch. “Listen. Talk. Transform.” It’s more than a concept. It’s a call-to-action, especially if you have a desire to contribute to and help change your community – and maybe even the world.

“Listen. Talk. Transform.” is the theme of the 9th annual Service Engagement Summit presented by Indiana Campus Compact, on February 25 and 26, at the Marriott North Indianapolis. Indiana Campus Compact is hosting the summit as a continuation of its year-long look at how dialogue is a tool to help us connect across our differences and improve lives in our communities.

When we listen to each other, and talk about solutions to problems together, we can transform our neighborhoods, our cities, and our nation.

And, Indiana Campus Compact is committed to showing faculty, staff, and students at Indiana colleges and universities how those three words can help them “create programming that will have a lasting impact on our society for years to come.”

“People should attend the summit if they are frustrated with the status quo. People should attend if they want to tell and create new stories. Indiana Campus Compact brings people together and gives us the space for curiosity to flourish.”

If you attend the Service Engagement Summit, you will hear fascinating discussions on how you can impact communities through a series of thought-provoking workshops, peer-to-peer conversations, and expert panels. Some of the featured topics include: “Creating the World We Need,” “Lifting Voices in the Face of Hate,” and “Moving from Listening to Communities to Action.”

You will also hear from respected and inspirational local and national speakers. Among them? Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso from Indianapolis, a spiritual leader and the first woman ordained as a rabbi in Judaism’s Reconstructionist movement, and keynote speaker Eboo Patel, an author, speaker, educator and founder of Interfaith Youth Core. Patel is a leading voice in the movement for interfaith cooperation.

Image result for mark latta marian universityI had the chance to interview one of the peer-to-peer presenters at the Service Engagement Summit to get a “sneak peek” at one of the workshops. Mark Latta is an English instructor and director of the Writing Center at Marian University.

Mark will be leading a full-day, deep-dive presentation titled: “Critical Collaborations: Using Creative and Humanizing Research Methodologies to Honor Experience, Dismantle Oppression, and (maybe) Remake the World.”

I told Mark it’s a big and ambitious title. But he said, at the heart of it, he and his co-presenters want to showcase community projects and partners in Central Indiana who are using research to produce real structural change in their communities — literally changing life conditions for people.

As an example, Mark discussed one area community project that is creating urban gardens. He says, “People are using the White River as a source of food, teaching communities how to fish, how to prepare fish, and how to grow and produce food.” Mark added, “This is action-based research on how to increase the quality of food.”

Mark will also show attendees how to think more creatively about what research is and how it can produce real change in real places. He says, “One thing academics can do is ask, “What is the public value of research? Who will benefit, and will it improve lives around the area?”

“One thing academics can do is ask, “What is the public value of research? Who will benefit, and will it improve lives around the area?”

Mark and his co-presenters will also discuss how colleges and universities can use research to help dismantle oppression, such as racial and economic inequality, and “Remake the World.” “It’s not enough to simply critique injustice,” Mark states. “We have to imagine other alternatives and possibilities. How do we enact those possibilities? It is difficult,” he continues, “but it happens every day. People around us continually do that.”

Mark’s workshop is just one of several highlights and presentations at the two-day Service Engagement Summit. In an award ceremony, Indiana Campus Compact will also honor partner campuses, college student leaders, and one senior faculty member from a partner campus, for their community impact and civic engagement.

Liza Blomquist, the director of communication and outreach for Indiana Campus Compact, says, “I hope people will leave the Service Engagement Summit with some really great, new ways of thinking about encounters they have every day on campus and in their communities. I hope that the “Listen. Talk. Transform.” concept will continue, and spur more transformations at colleges, universities, and communities across Indiana.”

And Mark Latta adds, “People should attend the summit if they are frustrated with the status quo. People should attend if they want to tell and create new stories. Indiana Campus Compact brings people together and gives us the space for curiosity to flourish.”

So, if you want to hear excellent speakers and engage in stimulating workshops and conversations that could help you ‘remake the world’, what are you waiting for? Learn more about the Service Engagement Summit today.

Registration for the summit begins on December 3rd. Hope to see you there.

Angela Cain is President and CEO of Angela Cain Communications which provides media relations, event scripting, corporate responsibility initiatives, videos, voice-over work, and public speaking. 

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