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University hosts IMPACT Conference

10:38 AM  Mar 7th, 2018
by Gita Balakrishnan; photos by Sylvia Stahl ’18

The University was filled with student enthusiasm March 1-4 as more than 500 students from across the country were on campus to attend a national conference focused on community and civic engagement.

For the first time in the event’s history, UD hosted the IMPACT Conference, which brings together college students, nonprofit organizations and school administrators to share ideas, stories and experiences on creating social change.

The conference offered dozens of workshops and speeches on topics ranging from immigration to food scarcity, foster care to water purity, to name a few.

“This conference brings college students from around the country together and invites them to talk with each other and share stories of what others are doing on their campus,” said Hunter Phillips Goodman, executive director of the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community. “The power comes from bringing people together and learning and hearing what is going on in other parts of the nation. It’s powerful and motivating.”

The IMPACT Conference builds on the foundations of the Collegiate Outreach Opportunity League and Idealist on Campus, whose mission is to promote and support college student involvement in thoughtful community service and civic engagement.

UD student ambassador and fourth-year student Katherine Liming said she was in awe at the enthusiasm she saw from attendees.

“I was very impressed by the conference and the students in attendance. It is so invigorating and inspiring to see what kind of action is happening on other college campuses across the country,” she said. “These students were so passionate and caring and that is really comforting to know that there are young people like that all across the country.”

Phillips Goodman has been involved with the conference for more than two decades and believes that the power of bringing college students together helps them see that their work is not done in a bubble, but rather can influence national change.

“Conferences like these are so important because our students who are working in their cities locally, they are seeing that what they do has a global affect by talking to other students from other universities. It’s empowering for them,” she said.

University of Dayton fourth-year student Abigail Kowalczyk seemed to agree with that assessment.

“I love learning about what other people are passionate about. It inspires me to follow my passions, unapologetically,” she said. “You learn that you aren’t the only college student out there with a big dream on how to create a better future. You get to connect with people who have similar passions and can help support you along your journey. We support each other and lift each other up to make sure that we are accomplishing our goals and helping each other when we are stuck.”

To learn more, visit www.impactconference.org.

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