The students of the University Seminar course, #ChangeTheWorld, hosted So Many Ways to Change the World on Thursday, Oct. 29, connecting SRU students and alumni to share the skills needed to make an impact in the world.

Lauren Murphy, an early education/special education major, led the marketing team for the event’s planning, working to create advertisements and digital materials for the proceedings. The event’s purpose, Murphy said, is to inspire students by showing them the tangible results their studies could lead to.

“This event shows students how the skills they gain in their four or more years of education at SRU can be applied to make a difference in the world,” Murphy said in an emailed statement. “By seeing Alumni that have used their knowledge from SRU to make changes, our hope is their passion and stories will leave the audience inspired to make changes too.”

Murphy explained that each speaker will have 8 minutes to present their change to the entire group, and after all of them have spoken, door prizes will be handed out to attendees. If any attendees wish to hear more about any of the changes presented at the event, breakout rooms for each individual speaker will be available after its conclusion.

Alice Del Vecchio, chairperson of the department of nonprofit management, empowerment and diversity studies, teaches the University Seminar that is responsible for this event. Del Vecchio said that her role was to coach the students working on the event, acting as both a guide and an active participant.

“I helped them work on some of the narrative for the event and some of the PR materials, but I mostly see myself as a coach who’s here to help these freshmen,” Del Vecchio said. “What I’m trying to do is to help them get acclimated to the campus; how to maneuver the systems and figure out who to talk to and how to make this all work.”

Del Vecchio said that the current pandemic has, of course, affected the event’s planning in a very substantial way. Some aspects, such as the structure of the event itself, had to be retooled entirely, but not all changes that needed to be made were a hindrance.

The food budget for the event, for example, was instead used to purchase gift cards for the prize pool. “Life continues despite everything, so resourcefulness is an essential skill during these difficult times,” Del Vecchio said.

“I’ve been working with non-profit organizations very closely since March; listening to them about how they’ve had to retool things, rethink how to serve their clients and retrain their staff,” Del Vecchio said. “Just because we had to do everything differently doesn’t mean that the food bank hasn’t delivered to 15,000 people this week, right?”

Del Vecchio stressed that, especially during a time when everything seems so upside down, this event and its message are more important than ever. “Being able to meet people that are having a positive impact on the world in a very present way,” Del Vecchio said, “could be just the thing that young people need to realize their potential.”

“For our students to meet people that are pretty close to their own age that are already making a change – it helps them believe,” Del Vecchio said. “It helps them realize that they don’t have to wait until they’re 50 or simply say that there’s nothing they could do, because every one of us has the power to change the world.”


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