As students, how can we be more engaged in our university, our community, and in global issues? How can we utilize technology to do this in a meaningful and inclusive way?
It is both the responsibility of students to demand that their institutions be social leaders and innovators in society and it is the responsibility of our institutions to support, inspire and prepare us in this endeavor. In order to advance student engagement in this dialogue we need to be creating new and using existing platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and other social networks to invite, entice and provoke best practices and challenges in civic engagement. During the Talloires Network student movement roundtable, we discussed the proposal for a new initiative of the Pearson Foundation for a global capacity building program of the Talloires Network to strengthen the work university staff and of student leaders at the Network’s member institutions. This program aims to a) develop university engagement programs through professional development training opportunities for university staff, and b) through partnership with TakingITGlobal, find technology-based strategies to engage students in their local and global communities. The student engagement initiative will build student leadership, provide tools to partner with communities, promote new models of technology use that facilitate civic engagement, and provide scholarships to TakingITGlobal’s e-course to students from Talloires Network institutions. There are over 6 million students who study at Talloires Network institutions, many of which are keen to be engaged but perhaps have not found the pathways or opportunities to do so. This initiative is an incredible opportunity to be part of this important movement!!
During her keynote address, Jennifer Corriero, executive director of TakingITGlobal, asked six questions about creating leadership on campus. I think these questions are thoughtful and can provoke a sprout of change on any campus:
1. Does your university create open, dynamic spaces for redefining the possible?
2. Does your university offer platforms for students to amplify their voice?
3. Does your university facilitate connections between nodes and hubs within your networks of influence?
4. Does your university provoke students to see their role as trend shapers and communicators?
5. Does your university match students with mentors in an exchange that enables shared growth?
6. Does your university value the importance of taking concrete action with measurable results?
A big shout out to students from around the world that there are opportunities to be creative, innovative leaders in our universities and communities. I urge you to embrace the opportunity of working collaboratively with your university staff/faculty/peers and community in strengthening the civic engagement movement. Create interdisciplinary and intergenerational groups, clubs, and dialogue in your classrooms and hallways about how to take on this challenge. Be creative, it is contagious!
Please visit the TakingITGlobal website for more information on how youth from around the world are creating positive change: http://www.tigweb.org/
Also, check out the TakingITGlobal ‘Sprout e-course’ for aspiring social innovators and environmental entrepreneurs who want to grow their project ideas and learn to create lasting changes that take root in their communities: http://www.sproutecourse.org/
Thank you Talloires Network for celebrating the voice of youth, and supporting youth leaders from around the world!