IMPACT: Spring Break


Taylor Mosbarger

The Brain Center sent 5 students to St. Louis, Missouri for the 2017 IMPACT Conference held on February 16-19.

The IMPACT conference is the largest gathering in the country where college students, administrators, and non-profit organizations gather to discuss projects in community service, advocacy, service-learning, and other topics of social justice. This year, the conference was held at Washington University.

Many of the people who help organize and run the conference are college students themselves.

The 2017 IMPACT Conference featured over one hundred workshops, some of which addressed topics such as Alternative Breaks, building leadership skills, and social entrepreneurship.
The BW students all had differing preferences as to what presentations they wanted to attend, but they all gained valuable information and ideas from each discussion. A few of the different panels and workshops the students attended include Students Leading Students, where panelists offered ideas on how to recruit and maintain new volunteers; Standing Up for Refugees, where students exchanged ideas on how to be an advocate for immigrants and refugees in the US and abroad, and Storytelling for Social Change, where participants were taught different strategies and tips on how to use their stories to advocate for, and educate others.

During lunch, there was an Opportunities Fair for participants to reach out to presenters, non-profit organizations, and service project groups for internships and involvement opportunities.

“I was involved in service before,” Chelsea Seward, one of the BW Students who attended the conference said, “but just to put it [into] perspective and see what other people were doing and to hear the discussions and hear what people were fighting for really helped me focus.”

While the students were busy from the early morning to the late evening going to presentations and listening to keynote speakers, the conference was not all work and no play. On the second night, the students had a chance to explore St. Louis. There were jewelry stores, restaurants, comic book stores, record shops, and theaters all along the streets. After debating where to eat, they finally picked Fitz’s, a root beer factory turned restaurant. The conference offered tickets to attendees for the City Museum, a 600,000 square-foot building filled with man-made caves, 10-foot story slides, decommissioned airplanes, and a giant ball-pit for people of all ages.

The Brain Center hopes to send presenters and more students to next year’s IMPACT Conference, scheduled to be held at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio.