Issue Me Change

These workshops explore social issues  to develop the awareness, knowledge, and skills to necessary to impact change. They can also include ways in which different campuses have taken action to address these issues.

Beginner-These workshops provide an introduction to the context, research, or history of social issues that face our society and/or the basic skill building to attain necessary leadership and intercultural competency.

A Federal Budget By and For the People 

Jo Comerford and Mattea Kramer, National Priorities Project

U.S. federal spending and revenue decisions have a profound local impact yet the federal budget process does not include adequate input from the grassroots — especially from students. This workshop will build participants’ capacity to more fully understand and engage strategically and effectively in the U.S. federal budgeting process.

Building a Grad Nation

Cody Ruxton, America’s Promise Alliance

Every 26 seconds a young person drops out of high school. America’s Promise Alliance has a history of youth engagement and includes ―opportunities to help other – as one of its Five Promises that all youth deserve. Learn how engagement has evolved to support the Alliance’s Grad Nation campaign to mobilize America to end the dropout crisis. It’s a call to action for concerned citizens, businesses, community leaders, policy makers, educators and the nation. With leadership and focus, this is a solvable problem. Young people of all ages have a role to play and many are actively making community change. Discover the resources and energy that can be found from the nation’s largest partnership organization dedicated to improving the lives of young people. Your local work can be part of a national movement! (Beginner/Intermediate)

Modern Slavery: How to Break the Chains of the 21st Century

Stop Hunger Now!

Jan Rivero, Stop Hunger Now

Among the results of food insecurity are hunger and hunger-related illness.  Hunger is the one issue that, if properly addressed, can enable the achievement of all eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals.  Stop Hunger Now is an international (non-sectarian) humanitarian relief organization with a vision of a world without hunger, and a mission to end hunger in our lifetime by providing food and life-saving aid to the world’s most vulnerable.  In this workshop you will learn facts about hunger and how school feeding programs are transforming lives around the world.  A hands-on project will engage participants in providing one short-term solution with long-term implications, a project that can be replicated and utilized on your campuses in your fight against hunger.

“The Big Eight” and Beyond:  Social Justice Education “To Go”

Clay Grego, Allegheny College

Do you know who you are?  How about: what does it mean to be who you are?  While these questions might be a throwback to the timeless classics that we asked when lying under a blanket of stars in the night sky, they are questions that take on a whole new significance when you are presented in the face of a challenge that has the power to stop you in your tracks.  It is through developing a stronger awareness of “who you are” and “how others perceive you” that a person can empower themselves to make more effective approaches at unearthing the causes of problems at hand.  Join us in this workshop where participants will begin to scratch the surface of defining “social justice” and discuss what it takes to be an instrument of social change. (Beginner/intermediate)

The Power of Potential: Engaging Your Assets for Sustainable Communities

Cam Hebda and Jane Amstey, Rochester Institute of Technology

Are you someone who can identify a community’s potential where others cannot? If so, you are on your way to becoming a successful social entrepreneur! This interactive workshop will teach you how real-life social entrepreneurs used community gardening in a low-income urban neighborhood to help create social capital and a sustainable community. The venture called “Field to Table” was born from resident visionaries in urban Rochester, New York who wanted to address the issues of health, youth employment and youth development. Their efforts resulted in the establishment of a children’s community garden and a sustainable summer program. Field to Table combines university, non-profit, and resident leaders with local college and high school students to serve neighborhoods. It has successfully brought a safe environment, healthy eating, physical education, the arts, and gardening skills to youth ranging from 4-16. We will examine the successes and challenges of this social venture as you learn how residents, universities, and non-profits can engage in a co-equal partnership to address community issues. You will find out how one of the university students created a separate initiative to involve other university students in the work of addressing the same community issues. In the workshop participants will learn about Asset Based Community Development, and conduct a personal asset inventory. Participants will work in small groups to solve a “real world” community issue by connecting with others to creatively mobilize their unique skills and talents.

Transitioning from Foster Care to College Living

Amber Lee, Alyssa Logan, and Rhea Dunder, University of Alaska-Anchorage

Casey Family Programs—the nation’s largest operating foundation focused on foster care and the child welfare system—reported that only 7-13% of young adults in foster care attend college. Of those that do, only 2% graduate with a Bachelor’s degree, compared to 24% of the entire adult population. ( To address this issue, the University of Alaska Anchorage partnered with Alaska’s Office of Children’s Services to establish “Campus Connections.” This mentoring program is designed to be a resource for students attending UAA while transitioning to independent living. The workshop will discuss the issues facing youth in foster care and the troubles they encounter during this transition. Through activities that put participants in the shoes of students and mentors, allowing a new perspective, the workshop will engage participants in interactive dialogue. This workshop will also provide skills and information about how a university can act as a resource to ease the student transition from foster care, using examples of existing programs in the northwest.


Intermediate – These workshops go beyond a basic understanding of the issues to further develop skills, leadership and intercultural competency for more experienced social change agents in the field.

From Puerto Rico to Italy: Building Blocks to Service-Learning

Krista Walker, Annysa Rodriguez, and Gabrielle Fonrouge, St. John’s University

This workshop will provide a look at how the Ozanam Scholars program has helped empower, engage, and mobilize the scholars who participated in an intense service trip to Puerto Rico. They were able to use their experiences in Puerto Rico to create a sustainable service-learning project that assisted the Roma children in Rome, Italy. The workshop will show how pre-training leadership workshops, service, and reflection became the catalyst for a 10-week computer literacy project, a documentary, and a mentoring program that the Ozanam Scholars are now developing while studying abroad in Rome.

Human Rights:  From Education to Action

Ellen Firestone, Global Education Motivators

The purpose of this workshop is to educate participants on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Born out of the atrocities and enormous loss of life during World War II, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created by the United Nations to provide a common understanding of what everyone’s rights are.  It forms the basis for a world built on freedom, justice and peace.  Once participants are familiar with each of the 30 human rights, they will be asked to decide which rights they feel most strongly about and then discuss ways and develop a plan for how they can serve in those areas.  When human rights are not well known by people, abuses such as discrimination, intolerance, injustice, oppression and even human trafficking can arise.


Advanced- These workshops are for seasoned leaders to hone their skills, knowledge and abilities through sharing best practices and lessons learned.

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