During a turbulent time in the world, the University of Guelph-Humber’s student-led See | Change Symposium is aiming to start conversations.
Organized by students in the Family & Community Social Services program, the sixth annual symposium on March 9 features some of the most prominent speakers in the history of the event and a powerfully relevant theme.
“The point of this symposium is to start conversations about empowerment, social justice and resiliency,” said Katherine O’Brien Michaud, a UofGH student volunteer handling publicity and promotions for the event. “It’s founded on three pillars: Learn, act and lead.”
The keynote speaker for this year’s See | Change Symposium – which is free – is Cathy Crowe, an author, street nurse, educator and social activist who specializes in advocating for Canadian homeless. She co-founded the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, which declared homelessness a national disaster, and has won several awards for her nursing and activism.
Other featured speakers and panelists include:
- Anti-poverty activist John Clarke, a leading figure of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, an organization that mounts campaigns against government policies that could have detrimental effect on poor and working people
- Jason Rocky Carter, a Nehiyaw from Onion Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan who will give a traditional closing ceremony and whose organization, Bear Standing Tall & Associates, provides holistic indigenous awareness training using the medicine wheel framework
- Dennis Long, executive director at Breakaway Addictions services and an instructor at UofGH with a long background in mental health and substance abuse
“We have the most high-profile speakers coming in that we’ve ever had for the event,” said Family & Community Social Services Assistant Program Head Dave Kydd. “We’re hoping those speakers will generate some excitement and inspire our students so we can create some positive momentum going forward.”
The issues that will be addressed during the Symposium are urgent and broadly relevant, so organizers are hopeful that students from other programs will attend.
“What’s going on in the world impacts everyone,” O’Brien Michaud said. “We’re all global citizens. We’re all members of our society and our community. It’s very important to advocate for ourselves and others. We are all interconnected.
“It’s really important to empower each other especially at a time when there’s oppression going on in society. We should lift each other up. This is a great opportunity to learn more about that and put it into practice.”
Meanwhile, simply organizing the event has been a helpful learning experience as well.
“So far it’s been great,” O’Brien Michaud said. “It’s a great opportunity. I feel empowered doing it.”
Learn more about Family & Community Social Services at the University of Guelph-Humber.
Register for free to attend the See | Change Symposium.