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OCC Spring Symposium at OWU Focuses on Service, Activism

April 3, 2002

[ Campus Compact Logo ] DELAWARE, OHIO -- Ohio Wesleyan University is hosting this year's 9th Annual Ohio Campus Compact Spring Student Symposium, titled "Letting Our Lives Speak: Building a Commitment to Service and Activism." The conference will take place on Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6 in the Benes Room in Hamilton-Williams Campus Center. There will be numerous workshops and forums, including "Mobilizing Student Leaders," "Hunger and Homelessness," "Corporate Globalization" and "Service After College."

The symposium will begin with a dessert reception, hosted by OWU President Thomas B. Courtice, at 7 p.m. on Friday. Attendees will each be able to participate in three of the workshops on Saturday afternoon. The presenters and speakers will be OWU students, faculty members of various universities in Ohio and Ohio Campus Compact VISTAs, and the conference will close with an open forum later that day, hosted by OWU's Chaplain Powers.

OWU is one of the oldest members of the OCC flagship and has played a major role in supporting the OCC since its origination in 1991. Sue Pasters, OWU's Director of Community Service Learning, said that this is the first time the university will be hosting the OCC conference. She said that last year, five students from OWU attended the conference, and two of them presented. Those students were enthusiastic about their experience, Pasters said, so when the question arose of who would host this year, they urged her to volunteer.

Pasters said that every year the theme of the symposium encompasses service learning, servant leadership, spiritual development and political activism. Last year, the presentations on these topics were given at Wright State University mainly by professionals, Pasters said, but this year they want more student involvement, so many of the workshops will be student-run. She said that the symposium is intended to allow students the opportunity to work along side each other who perhaps wouldn't otherwise cross paths. "We want to bring them together to show that servant leadership, spiritual development and political activism are not exclusive," said Pasters. "Motivation for any reform can come from the same well."

Attendants of the conference pay a fee, with varying prices for OCC members, non-members and student presenters, but often times schools will sponsor their students. This year, eight students from OWU have expressed interest in attending and will be sponsored by the university. Several of those will be hosting the visitors from around Ohio, making them feel welcome and glad to be taking part in this opportunity.

Natalie Moon, the AmericacorpVISTA at OWU, said that it will be good hear a variety of speakers and that she thinks the VISTAs will have interesting things to say. "I am looking forward to seeing how many campuses avail themselves to the opportunity."

For more information, contact the OWU Community Service Learning Office at 740-368-3084.