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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Caught in the ACT: Students attend conference

< 4th weekend, the ACT Center sent a group of five students, including me, Katie Storey, Julia Reid, Sara Doyle, and Tenzin Nordon, to the Midwest Service Leaders Conference in Milwaukee, WI.  The conference was hosted by Marquette University and joined together students from various colleges and universities across the upper Midwest.   At the conference, we learned about successful leadership strategies, creating and maintaining successful community partnerships, facilitating critical reflection sessions, and we also were able to hear from students at other universities about the ways they stay involved with their communities.   The conference, whose slogan was “From Charity to Change,” sought to encourage students to think about the difference between simply doing direct service to address immediate needs, and working to consider the root causes of those needs. 

The five Carleton representatives to the conference attended various workshop sessions on a number of topics including grant writing, facilitating critical reflection, alternative spring break trips, service learning programs at other universities, and post-graduate service opportunities, among others.  In addition, we attended a keynote address by the leader of a Milwaukee non-profit, a community panel involving representatives from organizations in Milwaukee like the United Way and the YMCA, and a social justice roundtable.  The keynote address was definitely a favorite among the Carleton attendees.   Paul Schmitz, CEO of Public Allies, a nonprofit that trains future leaders for careers in public service, spoke about leadership and issues of social justice, emphasizing the importance of understanding that our strengths as leaders are inherently linked to our weaknesses as leaders.  He also spoke about the importance of rejecting the “us” and “them” mentality of service, and the importance of recognizing that building relationships and being open to learning from the people you serve is a fundamental aspect of service.
All of the Carleton students came back from the conference with a renewed enthusiasm for performing meaningful service with the Northfield community and beyond, as well as an excitement to find ways to work to bring about social change. 

Senior Julia Reid, an ACT Student Coordinator, shared that, “This conference challenged me to clarify my passions regarding service.  I’ve volunteered for as long as I can remember, but I’ve learned the need to direct my service toward a specific issue that I’m really passionate about.” 

The conference gave participants the opportunity to think about and challenge their personal views on and passions for service, and the Carleton representatives are eager to bring their renewed enthusiasm back to the ACT Center and the college community at large.

– Allie Sterling, on behalf of the ACT Center

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