June 13, 2024

It’s no secret that Wittenberg students are passionate about giving back. It’s even in our motto, “Having light, we pass it on to others.” At the 2017 Spring Propel Civic Leadership Conference, students, faculty and community leaders gathered to discuss Ohio’s challenges in childhood poverty, health, education and housing security, and how college students can make a difference in their campus communities.

The event, held Thursday, Feb. 23 in the Joseph C. Shouvlin Center, was a follow-up on the Propel Ohio Summit held last October. It was organized by students Hannah Kesig, ‘18, Kasandra Cogswell, ‘20, Leah Markovich, ‘17, Stephanie McCuistion, ‘18, and Jackson Dickman, ‘20. The event was organized through the Hagen Center for Civic and Urban Engagement.

Wittenberg is one of five campuses partnering with Ohio Campus Compact and the Office of Senator Sherrod Brown to host honest discussions among students from nearby campuses and spark ideas for tackling Ohio’s civic problems.

The conference began with remarks from Geoff Daniels, a regional representative for U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s Office and Lesha Farias, the senior program director for Ohio Campus Compact.

Wittenberg Professor of Political Science Rob Baker moderated a panel discussion featuring some of Springfield’s top leaders in community service and development. Panelists included Kent Youngman, CEO of the Rocking Horse Community Health Center; Deontrae Ellis, the criminal justice program coordinator for McKinley Hall; Robert Welker, director of the Springfield Promise Neighborhood and Shannon Meadows, director of community development for the city of Springfield.

Attendees also took part in breakout sessions to discuss and reflect on the health, hunger, education and housing issues in Ohio and more specifically, the Springfield community.

One of the students responsible for planning the event, Dickman, was happy to see students and community leaders come together for a common purpose.

“It was inspirational to see peer scholars wanting to have an open conversation of how to tackle poverty,” Dickman said. “I’m grateful to serve on the Wittenberg University Propel Team with my peers and host this conference for other college campuses.”

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