Written by Thomas Cahall, Center of Community Service Program Assistant and Co-op
Pictured above: Thomas Cahall, Malia Bow, Jasmine Cheung, Mady Hahn-Smith
On April 1st, the Center for Community Service’s (CCS) four co-op employees braved snow and ice to attend the Massachusetts Campus Compact Student Leadership Conference at Bentley University. The conference, “Students in Action for Social Change: Inspiring | Collaborating | Innovating,” brought together student leaders, higher ed professionals, and community partners from across New England. The day began with a brief address from the Bentley Service-Learning and Civic Engagement team, then attendees broke out into their first workshop sessions.
Mady Hahn-Smith, Malia Bow, Jasmine Cheung, and Thomas Cahall represented the Northeastern CCS and led a workshop presentation focused on developing student leaders into respectful, culturally agile community liaisons. After lunch, students broke into freely changing topic-groups to discuss strategies for program design, fundraising, social justice, and volunteer development, among others, with their peers from a wide array of backgrounds and areas. The afternoon session included workshop topics of identity, race, community, and service, and highlighted the inter-sectional nature of the work these student leaders are doing.
The day wrapped up with a powerful keynote from Michael Chikwanine, a former child soldier from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who spoke on the power each individual can have to create change, even in the face of great tragedy. It was inspiring to see so many dedicated students and professionals gathered to discuss strategies for making their campuses, and communities stronger. New networks and friendships were formed, and the wealth of information exchanged will be invaluable for the offices and organizations these students represent.