The IMPACT Conference is historically the largest annual conference that is centered around civic engagement. Building on its 32 – year tradition, student leaders like a few of our own Service Learning Ambassadors ventured off to Dayton, Ohio in search for innovative ideas for sustaining leadership programs, encouraging student volunteerism and ways to impact the community we live in. IMPACT is a one – time opportunity where students, administrators, AmeriCorps members and VISTAs, and nonprofit professionals are brought together to share effective practices and improve personal skills to bring back to their home universities.
My biggest takeaway from the conference would have to be the idea that it is not our responsibility to volunteer, it is our privilege. I would like to think other Drake students could use this statement, as a way to reflect on their approach to student volunteerism. I thought it was interesting to compare what the student body at Drake University contributes to service-learning projects versus the necessities that we should and can be provide but that we are overlooking. Shifting the perspective from responsibility to privilege removes that idea of simply ticking off a volunteer requirement on a to do list. Hopefully, if we start looking at our service learning projects through the lens of our privilege – we will see how easy it is to leave an impact and how beneficial that act truly is. This new way of thinking for me could only be obtained looking at things from the outside in and that is exactly what the four days at the IMPACT conference pushes you to do.”
By: Jazlin Coley