In a meaningful display of SUNY Old Westbury's dedication to its mission and experiential education, more than 200 students attended the inaugural First-Year Student Walk-the-Talk Peace Summit held recently at the College. The event was a collaboration between the Community Action, Learning & Leadership (CALL) program and the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), and was developed by students who participated in the first winter pre-first year EOP cohort enrolled in Community Learning (CL1000) during the winter session.
The summit was timed in celebration of Black History Month, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s National Day of Service, and to kick off three weeks of service leading up to the birthday of Dr. Arthur O. Eve, the founder of EOP.
"The goal of the Peace Summit was to have our first-year students become active participants in re-imagining the relationship among experiential education and social justice by negotiating disenfranchisement and the power of student engagement to challenge bias, promote social equity, and foster community through critical thinking and action was achieved," said Hugh Fox, associate director of the CALL program.
The Summit, moderated by U.S. Presidential Scholar and social justice multimedia artist Bayete Ross Smith, was held in two parts. The Peace Talk was first and allowed students to display their roles as critical thinkers through work on a student resolution that is being finalized through post-deliberation in each section of the Community Learning course. The Peace Walk, the second part of the Summit, demonstrated that Old Westbury students are about responding through action. The students walked around campus in a group with some carrying a picture of a person significant to them or a symbol of a bias/social inequity that impacted them.
Jacob Mott, a Politics, Economics and Law major, was pleased with the Summit: “The readiness that SUNY Old Westbury has genuinely shown to work with and include it’s students in the decision-making process has gone a great length to increasing my prospective hope for which direction the College will head in.”
“Some students had great opinions and ideas for the student resolution, and I’m hopeful the school takes them in for consideration,” said Daniel Alvarenga Delcid, a Business Administration major, of the Summit’s success.
Photo caption: EOP Director Jerrell Robinson leads students in the Peace Walk around campus.