Campus Life, News

Symposium promotes social justice

Dr. Josh Diem, a school of Education professor, talks to students attending the ACC Leadership Symposium about the importance of a grassroots campaign. The title of his workshop was "Organizing Social Movements." This was the first time the leadership symposium was held at UM. Ashley McBride // Contributing Photographer

Dr. Josh Diem, a school of Education professor, talks to students attending the ACC Leadership Symposium about the importance of a grassroots campaign. The title of his workshop was “Organizing Social Movements.” This was the first time the leadership symposium was held at UM. Ashley McBride // Contributing Photographer

The 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Leadership Symposium aimed to develop the next generation of leaders.

Student delegates came from across the ACC schools to discuss this year’s topic, social justice and inequalities. The conference was held from Friday to Sunday at the Student Activities Center (SAC).

Themed “The Next Generation of Social Change,” the symposium was held at UM for the first time, and it was hosted in conjunction with the Butler Center for Service and Leadership.

“We’re not only just a great city that has many social issues that we’re faced with, but also we can show how we are making a positive step with these issues within the community of Miami,” said Andrew Wiemer, director of the Butler Center.

The SAC ballrooms were the hub for students and advisers from 16 schools in the ACC. They traveled to Miami to participate in workshops focused on topics like community organizing.

These workshops featured leaders within the UM community, as well as community leaders from the Miami area. The workshop sessions aimed to prepare students for futures in organizing social movements and affecting change on a societal level.

The symposium was planned by a student planning committee, made up of UM students who had participated in the ACC Leadership Symposium in the past at other schools. Preparations began more than a year ago.

As part of the conference, students participated in social media. The planning committee created the “#ACCNextGen” hashtag and an official Leadership Symposium Twitter account – @ACCSymposium – to keep the discussions going once the formal part of the conference ended.

“While the conversations going on in these rooms are important, I think if they stayed in these rooms, it wouldn’t have as great of an impact,” said Mike Piacentino, the social media coordinator for the event.

In addition to attending workshops, students were divided into teams based on a social issue, such as education, gentrification, human trafficking, sexual health and more.

Throughout the weekend, the students worked in groups to develop an action plan to address their specific issue, and then present it at the conference. The final presentation served as a culmination of the students’ experience.

For a video on the ACC Leadership Symposium, visit themiamihurricane.com/tmhtv.

February 23, 2014

Reporters

Ashley McBride


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