BW Social Summit 2017

BW’s David & Frances Brain Center for Community Engagement empowered students with ideas, tools and inspiration for community action.

Students Gather at Social Change Summit

January 23, 2017

BW Social Summit 2017

BW's David & Frances Brain Center for Community Engagement empowered students with ideas, tools and inspiration during the inaugural Social Change Summit 2017. More than 50 students came away from the Friday, January 20 event equipped with social change ideas to put into action in their communities.

BW 2017 Social Change SummitThe event coincided with this year’s MLK Week and shared the theme of "Now is the Time." It also, coincidentally, fell on the U.S. Presidential Inauguration Day.

"The program was designed to help students move from feelings of anxiety, apathy and angst with current events into ACTION for social justice and social change," said Christy Burke Walkuski, director, of the David & Frances Brain Center for Community Engagement. "To that end, we designed a conference-style event in the spirit of MLK’s legacy."

Connecting to NE Ohio’s Social Change Movements

Students connected with an array of community leaders to learn about current efforts related to social justice and social change.

BW students at Social Change Summit 2017Participants also attended skill-building workshops related to: mediation, political engagement, personal social responsibility and “allyship,” which is about building relationships and trust with marginalized individuals.

The event included an opening keynote by Phyllis Seven Harris, who has played a pivotal role in a variety of organizations dedicated to improving the lives of people in Northeast Ohio, including leadership positions with the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland, Cleveland Sight Center, Planned Parenthood and her current role as executive director of Cleveland’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center. 

Brian Stefan-Szittai, co-director of the Interreligious Task Force on Central America and Judge William L. Dawson, presiding administrative judge for the East Cleveland Municipal Court led breakout sessions.

The summit ended with an evening World Café and Action Fair.

Act as if what you do will make a difference. It does.