This message is brought to you by our CLDE17 Student Interns. -Verdis Robinson, TDC National Director

It is incredibly important to engage in conversation with fellow peers, and by attending the #CLDE17 student symposium on Wednesday, June 7th, 2017, at the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement conference in Baltimore, students will gain experience in a space unique to the conference and to their academic career; a space and event by students and for students. Those who decide to take part in the intellectual talks will leave the symposium with tangible concepts and ideas on how to better their community, as well as broadening their perspectives. We hope that this symposium will bring in students with diverse political and personal opinions to discuss the important issues facing this generation.

Student leaders play a vital role in shaping the landscape of higher education based on the issues, concerns, and insights that come forth throughout the year.  As such, this space is provided for students to harness their skills and passions about the issues that matter most to them.  This student symposium will introduce students to #CLDESTUDS17 and provide a space for students to speak and be heard by their peers. This session will include multiple table discussions. We will be discussing the following topics that are currently receiving a lot of attention: racial tensions, political apathy, and community activism. These topics will be discussed in small groups, and then brought to the large group to have further discussion. In the end, all students will be able to receive a handout of the ideas that were proposed during the symposium. It will also engage attendees in conversation on mobilizing and empowering individuals on campus and in the community, creating diverse partnerships, gaining the support of your faculty and administrators, and building support networks in order to enhance the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement initiatives that already exist at your institution or to create new opportunities.

It is our hope that attendees will gain a new perspective, and learn how to engage in civic discussions with others who may hold opposing viewpoints. Students will learn in-depth information about local government and how they can influence their local leaders through actions such as lobbying and speaking during a public meeting. It is vital for students to attend this symposium because they will learn how best to take the skills they learn throughout the conference and apply it to their experiences in their communities and universities. As Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill said, “All politics is local,” so with this symposium we will aid students in facilitating change in their local spaces.

We, interns, are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to engage our peers but also learn with them. We know that they will bring a lot of knowledge to the table, and cannot wait for in-depth discussions. As we sit and plan the symposium, we cannot contain our excitement to meet every fellow student who has the same enthusiasm to participate in such important conversations. You are welcomed to the table!

CLDE17 Student Interns:
Amber Austin, Tarrant County College (Texas)
Tyler Ferrari, Chapman University (Calif.)
Christin Melecio, Winona State University (Minn.)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017
1 p.m. - 4 p.m. EST
Student Pre-Conference Workshop
For undergraduate students only
Organized by the 2017 CLDE Student InternsAmber Austin, student, Tarrant County College (Texas); Tyler Ferrari, student, Chapman University (Calif.); and Christina Melecio, student, Winona State University (Minn.)

This workshop will introduce students to #CLDEStuds17 that will provide a space to discuss issues that focus on being an active participant in the local and national communities, and will give students the tools to be effective activists in their communities. These open discussions will be held in large and small groups to effectively dissect the topics being discussed. To thoroughly accomplish our goals at the conference we hope that our peers come with open minds, and thoughtful ideas to contribute to discussions not only at this conference but at home with their peers. There will be additional information closer to the conference for those who register. We hope to engage our attendees with new, and exciting, information that can further reach students across the nation, and actively enhance the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement initiatives.