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The Nashville Intercollegiate Activism Conference

Posted by on Monday, February 21, 2011 in College Life, Diversity, Extracurriculars, General Information, Nashville, Service, Student Life.

Last Thursday, the Vanderbilt Political Review (VPR) hosted the Nashville Intercollegiate Activism Conference (NIAC).  Being the treasurer for VPR, I was somewhat active in putting on this conference and was really excited to see it finally happen.

The conference featured two panels discussing activism and service.  The first panel contained student leaders from across Nashville: Vanderbilt, Belmont University, Fisk University, Tennessee State University (TSU), and Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU).  These leaders brought up some really interesting points.  They talked about how hard it is to engage students on their campus and get them to do service.  I was really surprised by this.  I actively do some service work every week.  I’m not Mother Teresa or anything, but I try.  With the Office of Active Citizenship and Service (OACS) on campus, and a bunch of organizations like Alternative Spring Break (ASB), along with a million other abbreviations, it seems so easy to get involved on campus here.  I guess it’s something I take for granted.

The next panel featured professors from those universities discussing activism and service, and whether or not they felt today’s students were living up to their expectations.  The professors were reassuring, in that they felt that service could be anything, from smiling at someone to saving the world.  While many of us try to shoot for the second one, the first is easy and makes me feel a lot better about my day-to-day life.

Ultimately, it was a really neat conference.  I was so glad to be able to attend.  I now realize how lucky I am to attend a university where we can put together panels like these, but also a university where service and activism is so predominate and important.  Hopefully more interaction between these schools will help foster a common spirit of service across Nashville.

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